Shogun Rua injured his knee early in camp for UFC Japan, trained under medicationGet the Full StoryThe former UFC light heavyweight champ and Pride star did all he could to train through injury for his rematch against Ovince St. Preux, but nothing doing. December 31st, 2006. That was the last time that Mauricio Rua fought in Japan. Shogun as he s more often known defeated Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride SHockwave 2006. He would compete once more for the legendary promotion, defeating Alistair Overeem by KO at Pride 33 in Las Vegas, before making the jump to the UFC.
Since then, he s become a staple for the now WME-IMG promotion s Brazilian fight cards, having only fought in his home country since 2014. And while fans may not have been eagerly anticipating his rematch against Ovince St. Preux at UFC Japan, this Friday, September 22nd, it seems the fight represented something much more than a shot at revenge for Shogun: a chance to return to the country where he first made his name.
In a recent post on his social media accounts, Rua detailed his most recent injury and the struggles he went through to stay on this card.
Fighting has been my life for more than 15 years, Rua wrote on Facebook. It's what I have chosen for myself, and what I love to do. For me it's really hard to have to step out of a fight, really difficult, and to accept that this was the only viable alternative wasn't easy at all. Unfortunately, still early in this camp, I injured my knee. I spent all Camp doing all within my reach to be able to fight on September 23rd, trained the whole time under medication, protection in my knee, ice and physical therapy. I went beyond my limit because fighting in Japan again is something I have been dreaming about for a long time, because I didn't want to disappoint the fans, and because I was raised this way in martial arts by my master.
I already stepped up to fight injured many times in my career, and there's wasn't a lack of effort or trying this time as well. But unfortunately all the effort just ended up aggravating the injuries, and we got to a point where my team and I had to accept that there wasn't any alternatives anymore and I had to pull out of the fight. It wasn't easy.
I want to apologize to my opponent, I have been in the same situation when we faced each other for the first time and I know it's never easy, and most of all apologize to the public, specially those who were anxiously waiting for this fight. I'll take care of my recovery now, heal my injuries and comeback stronger. Challenges are put in front of us everyday, and what really matter is how we face them. Thank you all for the support.
Rua has famously struggled with knee issues, at least as far back as his pair of title bouts against Lyoto Machida in 2009-2010. Since then the specter of recurring injury has hung over his MMA career.
With Rua dropping out of the fight just one week out from the event, the UFC has re-signed former middleweight title contender Yushin Okami to face OSP in the main event. A top contender s fight between Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Andrade is expected for the co-main.