PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua saw his dreams of holding gold inside of the UFC put on hold, at least for now, after dropping a controversial unanimous decision to UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 104 tonight.
The Los Angeles crowd felt that Shogun was robbed, and even UFC President Dana White told Shogun after the bout, “I had you winning that fight.”
The officials, however, saw it differently as judges Cecil Peoples and Marcos Rosales gave Machida the first three rounds, while Doc Hamilton had Machida winning rounds two-four.
“I trained hard for this fight for four months, my corner told me I was winning all the rounds,” a disappointed Shogun stated after the fight. “I feel like I won this fight, but a fight is a fight, what can I do?”
The challenger spent much of the five rounds punishing the champion with kicks to his body and legs, leaving noticeable welts on Machida’s chest. Shogun admitted to the leg kicks being his main strategy.
“Lyoto is a very great fighter, and I trained hard and practiced like a thousand kicks per day,” he admitted.
Machida was noticably worse for wear in the later rounds, and admitted that the bout was his most difficult to date inside the octagon, stating, “It was my most difficult fight that I’ve had in the UFC.”
While Machida admitted to the fight being his toughest in the organization, he wouldn’t commit to saying if he felt he won the fight, simply stating through manager Ed Soares that “all three [judges] gave a unanimous decision, so that’s how the judges saw it.”
Machida did tell the fans that he would be open to a rematch with Shogun.
“Whenever he wants, I try again,” he stated. “No problem.”