by: Cory Brady

Murilo “Ninja” Rua is on a quest. He’s on a quest to capture gold in EliteXC’s middleweight division. The same gold that slipped through his fingers not that long ago at the hands of current champion, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Ninja can move one huge step closer to that gold by getting past an explosive former IFL superstar that goes by the name of Benji Radach. While there is a ton of hype surrounding the Kimbo/Shamrock battle, many mma insiders feel like the Ninja/Radach bout will be the fight of the night. Murilo has been exciting fans all over the world since his early fighting days in his native country of Brazil to his Pride days in Japan and now right here in the United States. October 4th on CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights is sure to be no exception as Ninja will wage war with knockout artist Benji Radach in a bout where the winner will move one step closer to a shot at the title.

PRO MMA recently had the opportunity to speak with Ninja about a variety of subjects including his fight with Benji, his brothers recovery, and whether or not he would ever consider fighting his good friend, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Check it out:

PRO MMA: Hey Ninja thanks for taking this time with us as we know you are a very busy man.
Ninja: My pleasure.

PRO MMA: What is your weight at and how are you feeling physically right now?
Ninja: I’m with 89 kg right now, about 198 lbs, and I’m feeling stronger and more adapted to the weight class.

PRO MMA: Where have you been training for this fight?
Ninja: I’m training at our new team, UDL, in our academy which is nearby my house.

PRO MMA: Have you been training with your brother at all recently? Who are some of the other guys that have been helping you prepare for your fight with Radach?
Ninja: He just got back from Canada and is already training with us. There are several people helping out my training, like professor Danilo Dourado in Boxing and BJJ with professor Cristiano Carioca, a great instructor that came from Manaus, up in the north of Brazil to help us out.

PRO MMA: What do you know about Radach and how do you feel you guys match up?
Ninja: I think he is an aggressive fighter with good Boxing and solid Wrestling.

PRO MMA: You are one of the most well rounded fighters in the sport and your opponent is more known as a knockout artist. Do you want to take this fight to the ground or do you care where the fight ends up?
Ninja: I really don’t care where the fight will unfold, as I’ll be ready for whatever happens.

PRO MMA: Is there any specific type of training you have been focusing on for this fight or are you just sharpening all aspects of your game?
Ninja: I’m training everything, as always, with a little more emphasis on Boxing and Wrestling.

PRO MMA: How do you see the fight with Radach playing out?
Ninja: I think it’s going to be a very aggressive forward fight and the crowd is going to love it. I think it’s going to be the best fight of the night.

PRO MMA: You have put together two back-to-back impressive wins since you lost the title to Lawler back in September of 07. Do you expect a rematch for the belt if you are able to dispatch of Radach in impressive fashion?
Ninja: That’s my goal, to have a rematch against Lawler for the belt.

PRO MMA: Would you ever consider fighting Anderson Silva?
Ninja: That’s not something that I would especially like to do. Anderson is my friend, we used to train together and he even helped me out recently, so I don’t have any plans to fight him. However, we’re professionals, and we never know what may happen.

PRO MMA: You have fought all over the world from Brazil to Japan to the UK and the United States. Where is your favorite place to fight?
Ninja: That’s a tough question. I owe a lot to all those countries. Brazil is where everything started, my home country, so I don’t even need to explain it. Japan has made me famous in the MMA circles and I’m very respected by the fans there, they always welcome us. I also have a lot of friends in Europe and I like the UK a lot. And the U.S. is the biggest market for MMA, where the sport really exploded, making MMA the biggest sport in the world one day… I only can thank all those countries and its fans.

PRO MMA: I saw that you recently opened up your own gym called UDL in your hometown of Curitiba, Brazil. How has that been going?
Ninja: This is where we train now, and we’re still in an initial phase, adapting it. You know, we’re making mistakes here and there, and doing good things here and there, we can’t really predict its future, but we’re doing our best to make it work and do improvements.

PRO MMA: Who are some of the guys currently training out of UDL?
Ninja: There are several athletes training at UDL and several others that are not officially on the team but helping us out all the time, the perfect interchange. We have Pimpolho, who’s a BJJ black belt with good ground work, João Paulo “Tuba”, who just won an MMA match against a BTT guy in Brazil and is one of Shogun’s sparring partners, Fernandinho Vieira who’s a former BJJ world champion and has also some nice wins in MMA already, Marcos Rua, our youngest brother who’s being prepared for his MMA debut soon, plus of course me, Shogun, Andre Dida, Tiago Baggio, Assuerio Silva and many others.

PRO MMA: Recently UDL and Wand fight team have formed a partnership. I know many MMA fans were happy to see you reunite with Wanderlei. What is your relationship with Wanderlei like right now and are there any plans of you guys training together in the future?
Ninja: Wanderlei has always been a great friend of us and doing partnerships is always a good thing. We will be training in Brazil and in the USA with him whenever necessary.

PRO MMA: How is your brothers recovery coming along. Is he close to 100% again?
Ninja: Shogun stayed one month in Canada working solely on his recovery, doing a great treatment and strenghtening the knee. The result was great, better than expected, he is close to 100% again and training hard, very focused for his next bout.

PRO MMA: What does the future hold for Murilo “Ninja” Rua?
Ninja: My future belongs to God, as we say here. I’m always doing my part, training hard and being professional, the rest is up for us to see.

PRO MMA: Thank you so much for your time Murilo. Are there any sponsors you’d like to thank?
Ninja: I would like to thank the guys from Midway Labs here in Brazil, who supports me with my supplements, Koral Fight Company, Red Dragon Fight Club website for the long partnership and friendship, as well as Rockstar Energy Drink who’s always with me on my fights. I can’t forget to mention my manager Eduardo Alonso, who’s always taking care of me, and the folks from X-Sports for the support for years. I would also like to thank the media for making our loved sport known, spreading out the word and letting people know about our work, which is damn serious. A big hug to all the fans that make our effort seem easy!

PRO MMA: Good luck on your fight and we wish you the best of luck in your career.
Ninja: Thank you!

You can watch Murilo “Ninja” Rua take on Benji Radach on CBS Saturday Night Fights on October 4.

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