From what I’ve seen, fans seems to be split pretty evenly on the upcoming UFC light heavyweight title fight between champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Jon Jones. There are valid arguments to be made for both fighters, but at the end of the day, this fight is about as unpredictable as it gets.
Oddly enough though, the odds makers don’t seem think it’s that close. Most online sportsbooks have Jones as a -200 favorite or better. Many champions would be offended by being the underdog, but not Shogun. He’s taking it in stride.
“I understand if people think he’s the favorite,” said Rua during Wednesday’s UFC 128 media conference call. “He’s been winning all of his fights easily, and I certainly think he is the rightful favorite for this fight. I truly consider myself the underdog… I don’t really care. It serves as motivation for me.”
“I don’t think there are advantages or disadvantages. They are [two] sides of the [same] story. I think he deserves a shot at the belt. He has earned that, and I think we will both be ready to find out who is the best fighter,” explained the champion. “He is certainly a very tall guy with a big reach, and it’s hard to find sparring partners his size. But we did our best and found some big guys who have been imitating Jon Jones [so that I can] adapt my game and, hopefully, do my thing in the Octagon.”
Meanwhile, Jones thinks he should be the underdog too.
“The fact that I’m the favorite, I think that’s bologna,” said Jones. “I think the reason why I’m the favorite is because odds makers are very smart and they probably think I’m going to lose. I think it’s a smart strategy on the odds makers’ part by making me the favorite, so the fact that I’m the favorite actually means that they think that I’m going to lose. That’s the way I’m looking at it, and I feel as if I’m the underdog.”
“I’m definitely the underdog in this fight,” add Jones. “That’s the way that I look at it. I’m the new kid. I’m the guy that hasn’t won a belt or anything. I’m the underdog and that’s the way that I train, that’s the way that my coaches look at it, and that’s the way that we all train.”
To those of you who bet, who are you wagering on?
Image via Scott Peterson for MMA Weekly