Shogun Rua Feels Jon Jones Deserves To Fight For The Title

UFC Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua - photo by Josh Hedges/

Shogun Rua Feels Jon Jones Deserves Title Shot

UFC light heavyweight titleholder Mauricio “Shogun” Rua feels Jon Jones deserves to fight for the belt, and doesn’t feel the switch in opponent changes that much in his preparation for the UFC 128 main event.

Jones was offered and accepted the title shot with Rua following his UFC 126 submission win over Ryan Bader, replacing the injured Rashad Evans.

“All of his fights he’s been winning convincingly. I think that he is the guy that deserves the chance to fight for the belt the most right now,” said Rua about Jones.

“I was prepared to fight Rashad but unfortunately he got injured, but I face it as motivation to train even harder,” said Rua. “I am the champion. I have to fight. I am a fighter. I don’t’ pick opponents, and I have to fight everybody as the champion, so I see it as motivation.”

A change of opponent six weeks away from the fight might affect some athletes, but it’s nothing new to Rua.

“When I was fighting in Japan they would sometimes tell me the opponent two weeks before a fight, so I’m kind of used to that. It’s not something that new,” said the light heavyweight titleholder.

“Shogun” doesn’t think the change from Evans to Jones makes that much difference in his preparation for his first UFC title defense.

“I think each fighter is a different fighter with a different style of fighting. Jon Jones is a very good striker He has a good Muay Thai and wrestling base, and to be honest with you it’s pretty much the same type of work I was doing training for Rashad Evans, training a lot of wrestling, a lot of Muay Thai. It doesn’t change that much,” he said.

“Jon Jones is a tough opponent, but you’ve got to be prepared. I’ve prepared myself mentally and I’ve been training hard and will do my homework, so everything will be fine.”

UFC 128 takes place on March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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