UFC light heavyweight Mauricio Rua is only 31 years old but the Brazilian could retire on Saturday night as a first ballot Hall of Fame fighter based on his career. Rua has earned his place in history due to an overall record of 21-7 including eighteen knockouts and wins over a number of elite adversaries including Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, Forrest Griffin, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Lyoto Machida. Now, with Chael Sonnen in front of him at UFC Fight Night 26, the former champion will attempt to add another stand-out scrapper to the list in hopes of doing more than just moving a step closer to title-contendership.
“Nowadays I fight to leave my name in history. It’s a big motivation for me to really mark my name in the history of MMA. So it makes me very happy that people address me like this, like a legend,” said Rua in an interview with Bleacher Report before clarifying, “My goal, my focus was always fighting to be the champion. It still is. For me to reach that goal I need to fight the best, and that’s what I do – I fight the best.”
Though Sonnen is far from “the best” at 205 pounds, Rua admitted he has another source of motivation entering the match-up.
“Chael is a great fighter, but I don’t approve of what he’s done with a couple of opponents, I don’t agree with that,” explained Rua after mentioning countrymen Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva. “I feel personally attacked when Chael talks about Wanderlei. That’s what really gets to me.”
Rua and “The Axe Murderer” have been kindred spirits dating back to their time at Chute Boxe and in the PRIDE organization. Sonnen has insulted Silva on a number of past occasions including a handful of times during the build up to this weekend’s bout with “Shogun”.