It couldn’t have been a joyous atmosphere in Shogun Rua’s locker room following his loss to Jon Jones last Saturday night at UFC 128. The proud Brazilian was essentially beat down for three straight rounds until his body could take no more.
It was the kind of defeat that’s hard to come back from, and certainly not one to celebrate, but his team seems to be taking the loss in stride and vows to return stronger than ever. Here’s Eduardo Alonso on PVT (translated via MMA Mania):
“There are no excuses! Now what remains is to work hard and begin our way back to the top. For those who find means to criticize the posture of our team for statements made to the press, Jon Jones looked for me on Sunday night in the hotel hall to apologize for his behavior in the press, that it was part of the pre-fight plan and he emphasized his admiration for Shogun. Let’s get back to work. Shogun made it before and will do it again.”
Shogun echoed those sentiments on Twitter after the fight:
Hi guys thank you all for your support, I will devote more and come back better.
“Yes, I was very surprised with (Jones’) game, Shogun trained a lot, Jones was able to neutralize my brother’s game, I think he studied Shogun’s game a lot, so congrats to him. Shogun now needs to go back to Brazil and analyze the fight, see what went wrong in the fight and go from there, ball forward.”
“I think (Jones) has a brilliant future ahead of him, he’s a very young athlete, but in this weight class I think it’s very hard… people don’t seem to be able to keep the title for more than one fight. Everyone wins and then loses the belt so it’s a very tough weight class and there are a lot of great fighters, so we’ll see, he’s a young guy and will stay strong going forward, but Shogun will be able to make a strong come back, for sure.”
“I think (what went wrong during the fight) was that the very first strikes Jones landed on Shogun, that knee and the head kick, may have taken his gas away.”
Shogun took a beating, there’s no doubt about that, but if nothing else, he proved that he’s a warrior with the heart of a champion. I don’t know how many other fighters could have taken that licking for as long he did and continued to press on. I assume all those hardcore sparring sessions at Chute Boxe are at least partially responsible for his extraordinary toughness.
The question to ask now is where Shogun goes from here? Some have suggested a move down to the middleweight division, but I think it’s too soon for that. Sure, he’s essentially locked out of the title picture as long as Jones holds the belt, but no one knows for certain that Jones is going to rule the light heavyweight division for years to come like Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre have ruled theirs. Maybe it’s better to see if the belt has found a steady home or if it’s going to move around the division like a foster child like it’s done ever since Rampage Jackson knocked out Chuck Liddell back in ’07 before making any dramatic moves like dropping a weight class. There’s still plenty of fights for Shogun at light heavyweight in the meantime. A rematch with Forrest Griffin, anyone?
Update: Eduardo Alonso had made a more official statement regarding the loss on the UG:
Everything is still too recent, I was taking my time until I would make a statement, as we are still close to UFC 128. I started to read some of the hundreds of messages on forums, twitter and other media sources, and after addressing the Brazilian public first, I decided to also make a simple statement in the two major MMA forums, Sherdog, which I respect a lot for having an enormous number of fans that support the sport, and the UG, which also has a number of fans and was where I started my life in MMA many years ago.
My goal is simple and clear. I want to thank the support from so many fans to Shogun and our team, before, during and after the fight at UFC 128. I want ALSO to thank a lot to all the critics, being them constructive or not, directed to the fighter and all of us. After UFC 93, I went on the Brazilian forum of Portaldovt and made a simmilar statement, even bigger, and what we saw after that was an ever improving Shogun from fight to fight, in a route that led him to the belt of what is probably the toughest weight class and more challenging one in the promotion. So obvioulsy, critics are welcome, as well as all the support.
With all that said, excuses won’t fit here, not ifs, not maybe’s or nothing like that. Work was done in the better way it was decided to be done, and in a team everybody signs the results, both when winning or losing. Always, anything in life can be better, and certainly some things can be improven. Analysis regarding that will stay as an internal issue, and this happens both in winning and losing, but it’s due to every professional to use defeate as a learning tool to learn valuable lessons and keep evolving. It won’t be any different with Shogun, with team UDL, and of course, with myself.
Even thought he lost the fight and his belt, Shogun Rua showed courage, heart and tried his best in the octagon. He has all our respect for that, and will always have, making us proud for all that he already did in the past, keep doing and will certainly do in the future. I’m absolutely certain he will make a comeback to the top, cause he has more than enough talent, inteligence and youth to do it. Hard work and dedication on his part, and on all of us, won’t be lacking at all.
All the credit in the world and all merits goes to Jon Jones and his team. If before the fight he was a prospect, now he is more than a reality, he is the champion. He was better that night, performed leaving no doubts and deserved the win. There are no excuses! Now what’s left is to work hard and start again the way towards the top. To those who found ways to criticize some statements from our team to the press, Jon Jones himself spoke to me in the hotel on the night after the fight, and expresses his admiration for Shogun and appologized for any hype created before the fight that could have offended us, as it was simply part of his thing pre-fight.
Once again, hats off to his team, they worked very hard and conquered their result deservingly so.
Let’s go to work, Shogun has done it before, he can and will do it again.
All the best, and thanks to all,
Eduardo Alonso: Class act.