If Mauricio Rua could have one wish this holiday season, it might be for soccer kicks.
Not delivered to him, mind you. But delivered from him. If he had his way, he and all the rest of his UFC cohorts would be able to use soccer kicks as an attack in the octagon. Foot stomps, too.
That’s how it was when “Shogun” fought in PRIDE, and it was a big part of his game. Rua came to the UFC after PRIDE was dissolved, but he couldn’t bring those particular strikes with him. Elbows, sure – and that’s one of the things he doesn’t understand, believing elbows are more dangerous than even soccer kicks.
In fact, he thinks those rules held him back. Still, in an up-and-down run in the UFC, “Shogun” still managed to win the light heavyweight title, snapping Lyoto Machida’s 16-0 perfect start to his career. But he may be thinking about what might have been had he been able to do just a little more with his feet.
“For sure, the new rules hinder me,” Rua recently said. “I think that the rule set from when I fought in Japan was safer than today’s rules. Elbows hurt a lot more than stomps. I had adapted to their rules. So when I came to the UFC, to get comfortable, it took some time. And, truthfully, my fight style relied greatly on stomps and soccer kicks. So to me, the greatest minus when coming to the UFC was the change in rules.”
Rua (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) is preparing for a co-main event fight against James Te Huna (16-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at next week’s UFC Fight Night 3. That card takes place Saturday, Dec. 7, at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia. Due to the time difference, the event airs live in the U.S. on Friday, Dec. 6, on FOX Sports 1.
It won’t happen in time for his fight with Te Huna, of course. But Rua is holding out hope that one day the unified MMA rules might bring back what he misses from PRIDE.
“I hope that one day, the UFC can legalize foot stomps and soccer kicks,” he said. “It would be great. I miss it. During the PRIDE era, I have no recollection of anyone getting hurt badly from stomps or soccer kicks. Elbows, in truth, really do hurt an opponent.”
Rua has lost two straight and four of his past six fights. But the 32-year-old recently said he isn’t currently considering a drop to middleweight. Instead, he’ll go after a win at light heavyweight that would get him back to .500 in the UFC – all without the benefit of soccer kicks and foot stomps.
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 33, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.