Mauricio Rua ‘retiring from all sport’ at UFC 283, won’t return to combat

Mauricio Rua ‘retiring from all sport’ at UFC 283, won’t return to combat

RIO DE JANEIRO – Mauricio Rua isn’t going to be one of those fighters who flip-flops on retirement. UFC 283 will be his final foray into combat sports competition.

Rua (27-13-1 MMA, 11-11-1 UFC), a former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE grand prix winner, will bring his legendary career to an end Saturday when he meets Ihor Potieria (19-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in the featured prelim of the card, which airs on ABC following early prelims on ESPN+ and prior to the pay-per-view main card at Jeunesse Arena.

Although retirement has been on his mind for some time, it was important for “Shogun” to have his swan song in his native Brazil. The COVID-19 pandemic dragged things out longer than expected, but with the octagon touching down in his home country for the first time since March 2020, the stars aligned for Rua.

“I wanted to have my last fight in Brazil,” Rua told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s UFC 283 media day. “It’s going to be tough. Every fight is a lot of emotions, a lot of adrenaline and nervousness, but being the last fight and everything, I’m going to have to be focused and get through that.”

At 41, Rua is among the oldest fighters on the UFC roster. He’s been in the fight game for more than 20 years and fought more than 40 times.

Critics could say Rua has stuck around the sport too long, but he said he disagrees and thinks the timing is perfect, especially because he has no intention of ever coming back in MMA, boxing or any other avenue of fighting.

“I’m going to really stop,” Rua said. “There’s a lot of people that retire and come back a year later, but I don’t like that. I’m retiring from all sport. … I could’ve stopped a few years ago, but I really didn’t want to regret stopping at the wrong time. So it’s something very personal. My wife wanted me to stop ever since we got married. But I think I’m making this choice at the right time.”

Despite his many contributions to the sport and already being a UFC Hall of Famer in the fight wing for his epic encounter with Dan Henderson at UFC 139 in November 2011, the UFC did not give Rua a layup for his retirement fight.

He takes on Potieria, who is 15 years younger than Rua and has fought just once under the UFC banner. The opponent didn’t matter for Rua, however, and he said it’s “inevitable” the contest will play out largely on the feet.

Rua has left no stone unturned during the course of his career and said he has no regrets. He’s got everything he wanted out of his MMA career, and now he’s just focused on getting his hand raised one last time.

“I’m very thankful for my career, very honored,” Rua said. “(I’m) thankful to God. When I finish fighting, which is going to be this Saturday, I can say I’m very honored and very happy with my career. I’m a very fulfilled and accomplished guy.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 283.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie