And once he walked out of the Octagon that night in August, he dealt with, more than ever before, chatter of him being better fit for a lighter weight class. The talk about fighting at 185 pounds followed him to Australia, where Shogun met rising light heavyweight fighter James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33.
What happened next stopped the middleweight banter … for now.
A first-round knockout of Te Huna said enough for Shogun and his case to stay at 205 pounds, but the former divisional champ went the extra mile at the post-fight news conference, saying decisions regarding weight classes won't be made immediately.
“I don't think about changing weight classes right now,” Rua said. “I'm not thinking about any belt or title right now; I'm thinking about my next fight and winning my next fight. This is my next dream, my next goal, and it's what I'm going to fight hard and battle for.”
Shogun dropped his Fight Night foe with a left hook as Te Huna stepped forward, attempting to land a lead uppercut. The impact from Rua's punch left Te Huna, an owner of 10 knockouts by his own right, collapsing to the canvas like a marionette that had its strings cut – seemingly lifeless.
An emotional Shogun threw one more punch for good measure, but it was unnecessary, as Te Huna as laid defenseless. Luckily for him, Rua's follow-up punch just grazed his face.
When the winner was asked how he felt about Dana White's comments when the UFC president was questioned about Rua dropping a weight class, Shogun chuckled, directing those questioning him to his boss' Twitter page for clarification.
“I saw that he put on Twitter after the fight that this was a knockout of the century or something like that,” Rua said, adding, “so I think he was happy with my fight.”
And wouldn't you know it, he was right.
“Shogun can stay at whatever weight class he wants to,” White tweeted. “His performance tonight was amazing.”
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