(Video courtesy of YouTube/WandFightTeam)
Trainer Rafael Cordeiro and Wanderlei Silva spoke this week about the impending tilt between UFC light heavyweight champion and their former Chuteboxe teammate Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and challenger Jon Jones.
According to Wand, the fight will likely be the first of several for the pair, but he feels that Shogun will take the bout via leglock.
He recalls the moment Rua decided that he would accept the change of opponent after Jones’ teammate Rashad Evans was forced to pull out of the fight.
“I was at the UFC. Shogun came to me and said, ‘Rashad hurt his knee, so they are offering me to fight Jon Jones. What do you think?’ I think it’s a great fight. I said, ‘Eventually you’d have to fight him anyway.’ I liked his attitude. He said, “Yes, I will fight him. I want to fight him and I’m already ready.’ I think Shogun is going to submit his leg. [Jones] had the balls to take the fight against Shogun one month away. I congratulate Jon Jones. I believe that he is the number one opponent for Shogun today. It’s a fight we want to see. I want to see. Against this guy. He is a great opponent for Shogun. But Jon Jones said one thing about himself, ‘I’m only 20% of what I can be.’ He is young, in his early 20s. I think he is going to develop a lot more. I think this will be only [their] first fight against each other. There will be a story. You can see the level of the athletes improving. He is so tall. He is Werdum’s height. He is also a very polite guy. But of course I will be rooting for Shogun. It’s a very interesting fight, having the surprise with Rashad’s injury and all. It’s a well matched fight.”
Cordeiro — one of the trainers responsible for making Shogun the dangerous fighter he is today — says that he feels that Rua’s game plan and evolving technique will be the difference in the bout.
“I think since his fight with Machida he showed he will dominate the 205 division for a while. I think Jon Jones is a great athlete. He is a great athlete. But to face Shogun today, you can’t use as a parameter for nothing. Taking on Shogun as the champion… Shogun has to exploit his own speed. Shogun is so explosive and fast. If he puts his hands to ‘sing’ and play from the inside of Jon Jones…He can’t let Jon Jones stand around happy. Shogun has to be Shogun, get in there and impose his rhythm, set the pace and make him follow. [He needs] to not let Jon Jones think this could be a good fight and to not let him move around. Shogun has to be objective and play the inside game. Because of the distance of Jon Jones — not only for his height, with his reach — it will be better for him in that certain distance. But Shogun on the inside, there is no one who can beat him. I put all my bets on our black belt. We saw him grow up and we know his roots. Shogun can dominate this division for a long time. Being smart, changing his training for each fight and evolve at the pace this sport is evolving. Like Fedor, it’s a sin to retire him. You can’t give up because of a couple of losses. Put your head on the pillow and change something. Go after more knowledge and don’t think that because you are strong you can win. Every fight is a fight and this fight is a good fight for Shogun to come in stating he is the champ and whoever comes in, he will put down. That’s my perspective.”
Regardless of the outcome of the bout, it is destined to be a classic.