It’s time for Shogun to hang up the gloves

Dan Henderson and Maurico “Shogun” Rua. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

As the winds of change blow through the Octagon, the time has come for one legend to hang up his gloves, while on the flip side a glimpse of the UFC’s future was on display in Uberlandia, Brazil. And of course, it wouldn’t be a true UFC event without at least one judging controversy to talk about.

Shogun’s last stand

Watching the demise of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has been a difficult one to digest. While he will always go down as one of my favourite fighters to watch, his health and sanity should come first and I firmly believe the future UFC Hall of Famer should call it a career.

This was something I mentioned during a UFC Central broadcast in January 2013. The producers asked me to commentate on who I believed would walk away from MMA last year. I believed Shogun was going to be one of them.

There once was a time when he was 16-2. Then the Pride MW Grand Prix champion signed with the UFC. After a debut loss with the organization he turned things around to eventually become the UFC light heavyweight champion, but at the time I thought he should have quit while he was “ahead.”

With five wins and five losses, he was no longer that dominant force from his Pride days. After the brawl of all brawls against Dan Henderson at UFC 139, I sincerely believed he had taken too much punishment.

Since my initial prediction, Shogun has gone 2-4. There is no doubt in my mind he has the skills to hurt and defeat some of the division’s best. His heart cannot be questioned; his will to win is almost second to none. But his reaction time and chin continue to fail him.

In a perfect world, I would like to see Rua fight forever. But this is reality, and like he did to Chuck Liddell at UFC 97, Ovince St-Preux did to him this past weekend.

He will still be in the spotlight and that’s fine by me. His upcoming stint on TUF Brazil 4 opposite Anderson Silva will be a fun one to watch, and that’s where I’d like to see him: outside of the Octagon coaching the future of the sport. Not inside of it, where his past continues to haunt him.

Foreigners Fighting in Brazil

One of the strangest trends in MMA is one full of risk. If you are a non-Brazilian willing to fight in Brazil against a Brazilian, you better finish the fight. According to Reed Khun of “Fightnomics” that trend is beginning to change, but the strange judging criteria continues to skew itself towards the hometown hero.

Case and point: Saturday’s co-main event between Rio de Janeiro’s Warley Alves and American Alan Jouban. My unofficial scorecard had Jouban winning 29-28, but that was not the case according to the official scorecard from Uberlandia.

I’m not screaming fix. I’m simply raising an eyebrow.

With that being said, the broken record of how to fix judging in MMA continues to repeat itself. Complaining about it has become cumbersome, and offering up suggestions continues to fall on deaf ears. Until then, place your bets folks.

Which reminds me: I have another idea that I have been thinking about, courtesy of the thoughts and suggestions from many of the bright minds behind the scenes. I’m in the midst of gathering more research, but stay tuned. I should have something for you to digest soon.

Youth and High-Level Striking

While I’m a sucker for high-level grappling in the Octagon. Be it slick transitions, submission set-ups and tap out finishes, whenever I see a youngster with high-level striking and execution my attention becomes acute.

Such was the case during Thomas Almeida’s long-awaited UFC debut. As strange as it sounds, it feels like it had been a long time coming for the 23 year old.

He remains undefeated at 17-0 but prior to his victory over the rough and rugged Tim Gorman, the Brazilian bantamweight had only gone past the first round just twice in 16 bouts. Even in doing so, he still finished off his opponents.

Keep an eye on this kid. His Muay Thai is stellar. His combinations are excellent. His execution is a site to behold. I cannot wait to see how he does in his next bout. He already has 13 (T)KO’s and three submissions. Yes, they have been outside of the UFC, but I firmly believe if his Octagon awareness, takedown defence and ability to get the fight back to the feet (should he be taken down) are half of what his striking game is, this dude will be fighting for a title within a year.

This and That

Many are wondering what the UFC will do with the cancelled/postponed flyweight contender bout between Ian McCall and John Linekar. They were scheduled to tangle in Saturday’s co-main event but McCall fell ill, with Linekar saying it did not matter and that he was going to place “Uncle Creepy” in the hospital anyway.

Linekar has apparently suggested to the UFC that he should not be allowed to face champion Demetrious Johnson next. This is just as crazy as the Twitter beef between McCall and Ali Bagautinov.

After all, it is Monday — enjoy it for what it’s worth.

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