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Late UFC 128 Opponent Switch Motivated Team Shogun

“When a guy is so talented as Shogun is, they tend to get lazy. Against Rashad, as a team, we were a little more accommodating. It’s not to say Rashad is not a great fighter, but we’d been thinking about him for a year. But then, when they changed it to Jones, it was like, ‘Hmm. There is motivation. We have to work.’ We all got pumped. It’s really for the best for him. He’s focused and he started to train much more. He’s very motivated and the team united… We had some problems, personal problems within the team, health issues within families, and it was tough. But this brought us back together. Shogun performs best when he’s an underdog and that’s why we’re feeding this whole thing that Jones deserves to be the favorite.”

—Shogun Rua’s manager/translator Eduardo Alonso telling Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that the switch in opponents for UFC 128 gave Team Shogun extra motivation

Eduardo Alonso seems like one of the sport’s genuinely nice people. He’s laid back, doesn’t stir up the pot like other managers have been known to do and always remains very respectful when talking about the opposition. That’s why it was so surprising to see him get fired up towards the end of the their pre-fight interview with Ariel Helwani yesterday. Alonso is sick and tired of people doubting Shogun and doesn’t understand what more Shogun has to do to prove that he’s the best light heavyweight on the planet. Shogun may say being the underdog doesn’t bother him, but after listening to Alonso, it’s clear that all the hype around Jon Jones has lit a fire under their team that wasn’t there before.

Below, Shogun Rua’s former Chute Boxe teammate, Wanderlei Silva, and trainer, Rafael Cordeiro, weigh-in on the big fight.

Check out Esther Lin’s awesome UFC 128 open workout photo gallery at MMA Fighting

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