Champ “Shogun” Rua has no issues with Jon Jones as new UFC 128 opponent

By Dann Stupp

Given just six weeks to prepare for a new UFC 128 opponent, UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua isn’t all that concerned.

Over the weekend, Rua (19-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), UFC officials and fans learned that an injured Rashad Evans had been forced out of the March 19 title fight with the champ and replaced with Jon Jones (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who defeated Ryan Bader at Saturday’s UFC 126 event.

But as Rua told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), it’s not up to him to approve or turn down opponents, and he finds Jones more than deserving.

Evans’ sprained MCL will keep him sidelined six to eight weeks. The fighter, who’s a teammate of Jones’ at trainer Greg Jackson’s New Mexico camp, earned his title shot with a May win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and sat on the sidelines awaiting Rua to recover from a knee injury of his own.

Despite spending so much time preparing for Evans, though, Rua doesn’t think the switch to Jones is a major change.

“Each fighter is a different fighter with a different style of fighting,” he said. “Jon Jones is a very good striker. He has good Muay Thai and a good wrestling base. 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.”

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