Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua had a lot to prove heading into his co-main event against James Te Huna at last night's (Dec. 6, 2013) UFC Fight Night 33 event from Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia.
To watch full fight video highlights for Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna right now click here.
Losing three out of his previous four mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, "Shogun" needed a win to stave off discussion of his pending retirement. A move down to middleweight was also potentially in the cards for the PRIDE legend.
But overall, he had won five out of his seven total bouts inside the Octagon.
Ultimately it was "Shogun" who impressed with a classic knockout (watch the replay here), putting his name back in the mix at 205 pounds and keeping any talk of retirement miles away, for the time being.
And all it took was one punch. Let's take a look back at the brilliance of "Shogun's" performance from Brisbane.
The bout began with Rua throwing his trademark leg kicks. He looked aggressive in throwing some big looping right hands. Rua shook off a Te Huna takedown attempt. The Aussie pressed forward to throw a lead uppercut, but he was met with a perfectly timed left hook to the chin.
Te Huna dropped like a sack of potatoes as a completely unnecessary ground shot found a home.
Rua silenced his critics in a big way with one of his patented knockouts. He was understandably ecstatic in victory after being on the roughest slide of his UFC career. Te Huna was a game opponent and "Shogun" absolutely destroyed him. Rua will keep his spot in the top 10 with the win, perhaps moving up a spot or two.
He should receive another top-ranked opponent for his next fight. A bout against number four-ranked Phil Davis could prove to be a very exciting contest for "Shogun."
Talk of his move down to middleweight will most likely slow down for now as Rua fought a noticeably bigger opponent and put him to sleep in devastating fashion. If "Shogun" can still punch with that kind of power, many exciting fights still await him in UFC.
Te Huna had a huge opportunity to notch a big win and he failed miserably. It's his second straight loss to elite competition. He clearly requires a lesser degree of opponent after being finished in the first round by both Teixeira and Rua. His career path is a bit uncertain at this point because it seems like he can destroy most mid-level competition, but crumbles in the face of top fighters.
That's a compromising position to be in because UFC isn't necessarily interested in keeping too many gatekeepers employed. Dana White has spoken up about his feelings that UFC has too many fighters on its roster so Te Huna will need to win impressively in his next fight. If he can't, he may find himself looking for a new place to fight.
For complete UFC Fight Night 33 results and play-by-play, as well as reactions, videos, highlights and more, be sure to check out our "Hunt vs. Bigfoot" live story stream by clicking here.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua returned to his winning ways with a huge knockout of James Te Huna at last night's UFC Fight Night 33 event. What is next for the heavy-hitting former champion?