Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has never lost back-to-back bouts in his decorated career, and the former champ is doing his best to ensure that doesn’t happen at UFC Fight Night 26, when he takes on Chael Sonnen. After losing by unanimous decision to Alexander Gustafsson last December, Rua has enlisted the services of renowned boxing trainer Freddy Roach to improve a striking game that has already stopped many notable fighters.
Roach recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” to discuss his training with Rua, and according to the famous coach, “Shogun” arrived without possessing much pack in his punch.
“It’s funny, when we first started working together [Rua] wasn’t punching really hard because he didn’t have his balance and his feet under him, and I told him he punched like a girl. The last day he said, ‘Freddie, can I ask you a question? Do I punch like a boy now?’ I said, ‘Yes, you do.’ He’s really fun guy to be around and a really hard worker. We had a really good time.”
“He didn’t have his feet under him. He wasn’t pivoting off the right foot at the right time,” Roach explained. “The thing about striking is having weight on the right foot at the right time, and driving off that foot. He was more or less just using his upper body, which is okay. But if you get your whole body behind your shot, it’s just much, much better.”
“He went from an okay puncher to a great puncher in less than a week. He picks up on things very quickly because of the athlete he is. It was like night and day, when he started to when he left. He really, really had a lot more power under his shots. But the thing is, he has to sit down with his shots a little bit more. Sometimes it’s a little bit harder with MMA because of the aspect of being kicked at the same time, but it did work for him. When we worked off angles it worked really, really well. I was really happy with the progress.”
It would be interesting to see how opponent’s hold up to Rua’s punches now, considering he already has a resume filled with stoppage wins.
UFC Fight Night 26 will be hosted by Boston’s TD Garden Arena. Stay tuned to MMA Convert.com for all your news and coverage.