Saturday night’s UFC 255 pay-per-view (PPV) kicked off in a somewhat depressing manner as Paul Craig demolished Mauricio Rua, out-grappling him on the mat and then ground-and-pounding him until Rua was forced to tap. Watching “Shogun” tap to strikes was a pretty big downer. It’s just another reminder that we’re 15 years from the prime Rua who stomped and soccer kicked his way through Pride FC in 2005.
But, should he retire?
Unsurprisingly, UFC President, Dana White, thinks so.
“I hope that tonight was his last night,” White said at the UFC 255 post-fight press conference. “I would like to see him retire. ...[Craig] looked good and not to take anything away from him at all, he came and did what he had to do tonight, but just being honest, Shogun didn’t look like Shogun to me tonight.
“Shogun looked old and looked like a shell of his former self tonight,” he continued. “Yeah, I’d like to see him hang it up hopefully.... I think he has two fights left on his deal. But yeah, I’d like to see him retire.”
It’s interesting that White always seems to prefer pushing his fighters into retirement rather than simply releasing them from their contracts. While you can look at it as the UFC president watching out for his aging stars, there’s definitely some disturbing power imbalances at play when the guy with the exclusive right to book you fights decides you’re not going to compete any more.
And who knows, maybe “Shogun” just had an off night. Following the fight, Rua revealed via social media that he suffered a bad elbow injury in the first takedown of the fight, which is probably the reason he had such a hard time handling Craig on the ground. Make sure to check out the second picture in his Instagram post to see how messed up it looks.
“Unfortunately things didn’t go out the way I would have liked last night, and this is a part of our sport,” Rua wrote. “I suffered an injury to my elbow on the first time I was taken down, but this serves as no excuse, as it is part of fighting and it doesn’t take way any merits from my opponent. An athletes’ career is not only made of glory and thank God I was already blessed many times with the reward of victory, due to a lot of sacrifices and effort, that only those who live our everyday routine really knows what we go through.”
So what’s Rua’s thoughts on retirement?
“I want to thank all the amazing support from you guys, as always,” he wrote. “I’m blessed for being able to do this for 18 years already, and here in 2020 you guys are the great motivation I carry with me, and that it makes me continue this far. Now I’m going to rest with my family, and think about my career. I know that my mission in this sport goes way beyond the octagon as well. Thanks a lot guys.”
Does that sound like someone who’s done fighting to you, Maniacs?
For complete UFC 255: “Figueiredo vs. Perez” results and play-by-play, click here.