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Ex-UFC champ ‘Shogun’ Rua promises wife only ‘two fights left’ before retirement

Mauricio Rua discusses his plans for retirement before facing Paul Craig in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO — Mauricio "Shogun" Rua already has broken a promise he made to his wife more than one decade ago. But he claims he’ll fulfill a new one.

The former UFC and PRIDE light heavyweight champion told MMA Fighting he’s promised his wife he won’t enter the Octagon again more than twice.

“My wife and my mom are rough,” Rua told MMA Fighting with a smile. “I have two fights left. It’s true now.”

Rua returns to action in the co-main event of Saturday night’s UFC Sao Paulo event against short-notice replacement Paul Craig. He is 11 months removed from a TKO win over Tyson Pedro and is 4-1 in his previous five outings.

When Rua got married to Renata Rua 12 years ago, he said he would retire after two more fights. He’s way, way overdue. But the delay paid off.

“Shogun” went on to win the UFC light heavyweight championship, beat the likes of Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Corey Anderson, and deliver a Hall of Fame classic with Dan Henderson over the previous decade.

Rua said that Saturday’s clash with Craig could even be his swan song. But that’s not the current plan.

“I face every fight I have as if it were my last,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be another one after Paul Craig, so this is how I see it right now.”

The legendary fighter knows he’s approaching the end of his run in the sport. In the past few years, he’s faced retirement questions with every UFC appearance.

Although Rua is 4-1 in his most recent outing, he went 1-4 in his previous five bouts, suffering back-to-back knockout losses.

“People keep asking me why I don’t stop fighting,” Rua said. “I’ll stop when I want to stop. I’m the only athlete to win the UFC and PRIDE titles. I’m in the UFC Hall of Fame, and I’m financially set, so I’ll stop when I want to stop.

“I’ll stop when I don’t have the same physical condition and the same reflexes. I don’t mind the questions, but that’s too personal, you know? I still do great in sparring.”

Rua is still motivated by his fans, daughter and teammates, and faces every fight “as a dream” in the UFC.

“I don’t think I’m too old for this,” he said. “I’m young, I’m 37. Demian (Maia) is 42 and just reached his prime recently, (and) same for (Fabricio) Werdum. ‘Jacare’ (Souza) is 40. There are a lot of fighters around that age still doing well, and I’m younger than them. I know that if I stop now, I might regret in a few years. So I’d rather fight a bit more and then stop for good.”

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