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.”