26 Jul [MMA] 
'Shogun' Rua ponders own career finish after sending one legend into retirement at UFC on ESPN 14

ABU DHABI – Mauricio Rua was proud to be Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s retirement opponent at UFC on ESPN 14, and now he’s looking ahead to his own career finale.

Rua (27-11-1 MMA, 11-9-1 UFC), the former UFC light heavyweight champion, closed his trilogy with Nogueira (23-10 MMA, 6-7 UFC) on Saturday with a split decision win at Flash Forum on Yas Island. The victory gave “Shogun” a sweep in the series, which dated back to their first fight under the now-defunct PRIDE banner in 2005 and before a UFC rematch in 2015.

Although there seemed to be little upside to Rua winning a third fight after taking the first two, he said he viewed it differently. He was proud to be Nogueira’s final fight and thinks going 3-0 over a fellow legend of the sport means a lot for his resume.

“I accepted this fight because I knew it would be important for my legacy if I was going to win,” Rua told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN 14. “I’m very happy for finishing the career of Nogueira here for his final fight. He’s a very top guy and a very top fighter. I respect him, and I’m very happy for this moment.”

After winning the first two bouts by unanimous decision, the third contest went down to the wire. Rua got the nod from two of the three judges and said he thought he won the first and third round.

At 38, Rua has said for years at this point that he’s closing in on the final stage of his career. He said post-fight that it’s really becoming reality now, and he has two or three bouts left in his career. However, he declined to go into specifics.

“I (want to) go back to Brazil now and see my family,” Rua said. “I (want to) relax and talk to my manager, Eduardo (Alonso), for my next fight. … I don’t think about any fight right now.”

When pressed about final opponent options, Rua did open the door to one potential matchup. His bout prior to UFC on ESPN 14 saw him fight to a draw with Paul Craig (13-4-1 MMA, 5-4-1 UFC), who scored a submission win over Gadzhimurad Antigulov just two fights prior to Rua’s win.

Rua said running back that fight is of interest but won’t give it true consideration until he reconvenes with his family and team.

“This is a good option. I want this fight, too,” Rua said. “I want this fight, too. I think (we can do) this fight one more time.”