Murilo “Ninja” Rua will walk away from the sport at 31. | Photo:
With three simple but profound words, former EliteXC middleweight
champion Murilo “Ninja”
Rua embraced retirement from mixed martial arts.
“Life goes on,” he told Sherdog.com.
The decision no fighter wants to make came in wake of Rua’s
third-round knockout loss to British Association of Mixed Martial
Arts titleholder Tom Watson in
BAMMA 6 main event on Saturday at Wembley Arena in London.
Beaten up for the better part of two and a half rounds, he was
ultimately cut down by a head kick and follow-up punches from the
surging British middleweight.
“I was already giving a lot of thought for a good while, along with
my family and my manager, about the right time to quit, and my love
for MMA always spoke louder, so I always wanted to try one more
time,” Rua said. “The opportunity to try to win a belt like BAMMA’s
lightened up the will to close my career well, but time goes on for
everybody. I have been on this road for a long time, and I already
went into this fight with my mind set that I would stop either
after this fight or after the next.
“I tried to do the best possible training,” he added. “I went to
the United States, went to Sao Paulo, and with the outcome of the
fight, we have to be objective and accept things.”
The older brother of 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight
grand prix winner and former UFC light heavyweight champion
“Shogun” Rua, Ninja made his professional debut under the Meca
World Vale Tudo banner in May 2000 and remained unbeaten until his
Pride 17 encounter with two-time Olympian Dan
Henderson ended in a split decision defeat. He competed in
three weight classes -- middleweight, light heavyweight and
heavyweight -- during his 11-year career, earning notable wins over
Sperry, Akira Shoji and
Rua’s career also included high-profile defeats to onetime UFC
light heavyweight king Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, two-time Abu
Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold
Arona, former UFC heavyweight titleholder Kevin
Randleman, Russian heavyweight Sergei
Kharitonov and American Top Team’s Denis Kang.
“I always fought against the best, never picked opponents,” he
said. “I’m proud of having always fought at a high level at big
shows, so I’d rather leave this way than let things go
At 31, Rua plans to keep his finger on the pulse of the sport.
“I realized talking to those around me -- my family and my manager,
who is, in reality, my friend before anything else -- that I don’t
need to drop MMA just because I stop fighting,” he said. “I can
still work with what I love. Now it’s time to take care of my kids,
enjoy life with my wife and keep bringing MMA to the world with my
seminars, classes and fighters.”