Mauricio Rua has a humble request for how fans should view him.
The legendary “Shogun” retired on Saturday in his home country of Brazil after a loss to Ihor Potieria at UFC 283, a fight that concluded a 20-year journey that began in 2002. It was a longtime coming for Rua, 41, who has competed sporadically for the past few years.
Despite crafting numerous indelible memories throughout his fighting career — including tearing through PRIDE in the Japanese promotion’s hay day and a UFC light heavyweight title win — Rua isn’t focused on celebrating his past competitive glories; rather, he hopes people focus on his character.
“The legacy I want to leave and the way I want to be remembered is as a great person, a good role model inside the octagon as well as outside the octagon,” Rua said. “For us fighters I think this is very important and this is really what I think fighters should put across and what I tried to put across through this whole time. I tried to be a good person as a professional athlete inside the octagon, but also as a normal person outside the octagon.
“So I want to be remembered as that, as someone who was a very good person inside the octagon, outside the octagon, in all aspects of my life.”
Beloved in the combat sports community and particularly in Brazil, Rua had supporters rushing to condemn Potieria after the Ukrainian fighter seemingly disrespected Rua with a post-win celebration dance that included him making the motion of firing a gun. Potieria later explained that it was actually a sign of respect stemming from his nickname, “Duelist.”
Rua missed it when it happened live, but downplayed any possible disrespect gesture that Potieria may have displayed.
“No, I didn’t see anything,” Rua said. “On the contrary, he always showed respect for me during the weigh-ins or in the hotel after the fight, so I really didn’t see anything.”
With the loss, Rua closed out his career on a three-fight skid. A homecoming booking looked like it would be the perfect moment for Rua to end his career on a high note, but it wasn’t to be and he accepts that a fairy tale ending wasn’t in the cards for him.
“Certainly, I didn’t want to finish my career with a loss,” Rua said. “I wanted to finish with a win, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible and even though I lost I really feel a sense of having my mission accomplished, of fulfilling my duties. Because for 21 years I gave my most, I left everything inside rings, octagons, I gave it all and sometimes it happens.
“So I feel relieved and fulfilled and a sense of accomplishment because I did my best and it was a long career and the only thing I can do is to do my best.”