Pride Fighting Championships sat down for an interview with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, who became the new main star of the Middleweight division after he dominated this year's Middleweight Grand Prix.




Pride Fighting Championships: I've heard you started training in jujitsu from 17. Which did you start first, jujitsu or muay thai?
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: I started muay thai when I was 15, so muay thai was first.
Pride: Have you competed in jujitsu competitions?
Rua : Yes, I have. I've competed in the South American Championships and Mundial.
Pride: You were in Mundial?
Rua : I don't remember well because it was about 5 years ago. I was in the blue belt class at about 80 kg and placed 5 th . I won the South American Championships.
Pride: Even in 5 th place, placing (at Mundial) is amazing.
Rua : I love to compete in martial arts matches, not just jujitsu.
Pride: What is your best move in jujitsu?
Rua : The kimura lock (arm lock) and the kata-gatame.
Pride: What is great about muay thai and jujitsu?
Rua : I can't think about muay thai and jujitsu separately as long as I'm doing MMA. I wasn't happy with my punches in the beginning but when I began to do them well, I felt I was evolving. The best thing is learning and being able to do various techniques. The amazing thing about martial arts is being able to use those techniques in a fight that will make the fans happy.
Pride: I was surprised when you put an omo-plata on Arona in the Middleweight Grand Prix Final Round. Did you learn that from Nino Schembri?
Rua : Yes, because Nino is good at the omo-plata. Well, it wasn't really that he taught me. It was because he was always putting the omo-plata on me and I just picked it up naturally.
Pride: You also did a double spin-kick immediately after the fight began? Was that a capoeira kick?
Rua : No, that's muay thai. I learned that from Coach Raphael.
Pride: Silva doesn't use those jumping techniques. Do you like that kind of technique?
Rua : Each fighter has his own moves that he likes or is good at. I like to jump and I think that moves where I can use my body a lot suit me.
Pride: So you have a lot of techniques that you still haven't used in fights?
Rua : Yes, I still have a lot. The fight is short so I don't have enough time to show them all. (laughing) And the Final Round was short so unfortunately, the TV broadcast was short, too.
Pride: You are good at stomps. There are some people that stomp straight ahead and some people that spin their legs and stomp. Which do you think is more effective in a fight?
Rua : Recently, our opponents have been researching the Chute Boxe fighting style so I try to use a variety of stomps. They are really studying us so I have to take it case-by-case.
Pride: Do those stomps have names?
Rua : No, they are all just "Stomps." (laughing) Wanderlei is still the best in the world at stomps.
Pride: When you make your entrance, what is your brother saying to you?
Rua : He's telling me to concentrate and that I will be fine, so I will become strong mentally.
Pride: Silva lost to Arona in the Middleweight Grand Prix. Was that a shock?
Rua : To me, Wanderlei is the strongest fighter in the world, so it was really unfortunate that he lost. Losing can happen in martial arts though and I think Wanderlei won't let it get him down and he will win again.
Pride: Do you feel that you've passed Silva now that you've won the Middleweight Grand Prix?
Rua : Not at all! I, and all of my teammates, feel the same way. Wanderlei is still the number one fighter in the world.
Pride: Well, you have passed your brother, Ninja, right? (laughing)
Rua : No, not that either. (laughing) Ninja is better. Ninja has more fight experience than me and both he and Wanderlei are above me.
Pride: After the Final Round, Arona said that he lost because of an accident, that he hit his head. What did you think of that?
Rua : What he says has nothing to do with me. The only thing I can say is that it's important to admit when you have lost. It doesn't affect me whether he admits it or not, though.
Pride: Arona wants a rematch. Will you give him one?
Rua : If the fans want it and PRIDE offers, of course I'll fight.
Pride: Can you feel the significance of the Middleweight Grand Prix belt?
Rua : Yes... I feel like I have to fight for something really important now. I have to train even harder for that now.
Pride: Did you wear the belt continuously after you got it?
Rua : Not just then, I've still carrying it with me now! (laughing)
Pride: What kind of fighter do you want to become now?
Rua : I just want to be a strong fighter. I want to become a fighter than can deal with everything, even muay thai and jujitsu.
Pride: You trained with Sakuraba at Chute Boxe, right?
Rua : Yes. He's a strong fighter and very experienced. I think Sakuraba will continue to train at Chute Boxe and that's a very good thing for Chute Boxe. Sakuraba is really great at ground techniques and I want to learn from him if I have the opportunity. We are both improving so I am looking forward to it.
Pride: Is there anything you would like to teach Sakuraba?
Rua : If there's anything he wants to learn, I would be glad to teach him.
Pride: You always say that you will fight anyone but is there really no one in particular that you want to fight?
Rua : Really, anybody is fine. The fans and PRIDE chose the opponent. I will always be willing to fight anyone and I don't really have anyone in particular that I want to fight.
Pride: Finally, what do you want to do after you fight?
Rua : I occasionally play soccer and I like to watch action movies. My favorite thing is martial arts practice, though. (laughing)