Jones, Evans, Inter-Camp Loyalty Reaching Critical

By Freya Vor

It’s been a long running pledge of loyalty that MMA fighters not fight with others who train in their camps. These informal “teams” have developed throughout MMA; but, like a pyramid, it gets narrow at the top and some of these loyalties are about to be challenged.

The most recent debate, which could illustrate the classic, “cart before the horse” involves Jon Jones and Rashaad Evans. Instead of avoiding the issue by taking the “we’ll have to see what happens with Shogun first” angle, both Jones and Evans, fueled by UFC President Dana White, have fanned the flames of the debate.

Both Jones and Evans train at Greg Jackson’s gym in Albuquerque and have showed solidarity that they would not fight the other. Both indicated that they would sit and wait for another opportunity if either became champion. However, when papa bear White stepped in and pointed out to Evans the lunacy of sitting out, Evans softened his stance, which caused Jones to soften his stance, which caused Evans to take it to the ghetto, pointing out “I’m no punk…”.

The issue is not isolated at Jackson’s, generally considered the world’s top MMA gym. American Kickboxing Academy and the other top “teams” have had to address the same issue.


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Shogun – Chapter One

By Thomas Gerbasi

On Saturday, March 19, 23-year old Jon Jones will challenge for the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 128 in Newark, New Jersey. The man he will face that night, champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, knows a little something about being the young gun tearing through everyone in his path, as he did so back in his days in Japan’s PRIDE organization.

In his 23rd year, Rua went 5-0, defeating Hiromitsu Kanehara, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona, an amazing run to say the least. And while the 29-year old version of Shogun is finally healthy and ready to build on his UFC knockout wins over Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell, and Lyoto Machida, now we’re going to look back at the defining bouts of the first chapter of his fighting career.

Akira Shoji – October 5, 2003 – PRIDE Bushido 1
Result – Rua KO1
4-1 in his mixed martial arts career, 21-year old Mauricio Rua made his PRIDE debut against the man many of the Japanese organization’s big names made their bones against – veteran gatekeeper Akira Shoji. And despite the fact that Shoji had been on the losing end of his PRIDE bouts more often than not, he was never one to go away quietly, and he actually came into the Rua bout with a two-fight winning streak, his first in three years. And while obviously raw technique wise, there was no disputing the athleticism and potential of the youngster from Curitiba, who rebounded from a slow start that saw him taken down and almost caught in a heel hook to stop Shoji with a series of flush shots to the head at the 3:47 mark. The win began a streak that lasted nearly two and a half years and built Rua from unknown to superstar.


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‘Ninja’ Rua says Jon Jones “will get hurt” when his brother’s punches “finds his face”

By Guilherme Cruz

UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Shogun will put his title on the line against the young Jon Jones. Despite all experience he has on MMA and the fact he had become Pride’s champion when he was at the same age Jones currently is, the Brazilian is seen as the underdog by the press and the American fans, but his brother Murilo “Ninja” Rua bets all his chips in Mauricio, despite complimenting the American.

“Jon Jones is a respectful athlete, he’s young, but my brother is the favorite for the experience he has, he’s fought tougher guys than Jones. My brother has proven it, and he’ll win. The guy wants it bad, he has nothing to lose, but the experience can be the differential”, bets Murilo, who doesn’t consider Jones to be the greatest challenge on his brother’s career. “He’s one of the toughest fighters on MMA currently, he’s tall and has a great conditioning, he’s rising, so it must be a hell of a good fight. But he’ll get hurt when my brother’s punches finds his face. Jon Jones ain’t Mauricio’s greatest challenge. My brother had had great ones, and it’ll be another fight on his career”.



Shogun says change of opponent makes no difference

By Fighters Only

Mauricio ‘ShogunRua tells Fighters Only that the switch in opponent from Rashad Evans to Jon Jones hasn’t made much difference to his UFC 128 preparations.

“Rashad got injured which is a shame but they are similar and I will continue to train with the same strategy, which is to focus on striking and wrestling. I think they are both tough fighters and the only difference is their body types,” he said to Fighters Only video reporter Gary Alexander recently.

“They are both tough guys, Rashad has one loss but other than that they are very similar.”

Rua also commented on the rumour that Rampage was the original stand-in opponent selected by the UFC, before Jones was cemented in the title shot.

With a wry laugh, Rua said “I don’t know what happened, Rampage was overweight or something so he couldn’t do it, it didn’t really work out.”


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Rashad Evans responds to criticism on waiting out for title shot before injury

By Jamie Penick

Rashad Evans has taken a lot of heat and criticism over the last month after an injury forced him out of a title bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128. A lot of that criticism has come from UFC President Dana White, and much of it was centered on the fact that Evans sat out of action waiting for that title shot instead of taking a fight in the interim. Now, Evans has given his side of the situation, and explained his reasoning for waiting out the fight, and says he wouldn’t have done it differently.

“Say for instance I would have taken a fight then I would have gotten injured training for a fight that wasn’t a title bout. Everybody would have said I was stupid for not waiting,” Evans said in an interview with Duane Finley at “I got hurt in a freak accident while I was training for the title bout so it’s just something that happened. It probably couldn’t have happened another one in a million times but it happened to me and with no time to spare.

“Let me set a few things straight… first and foremost I was not afraid to fight. I would have fought but I wanted it to be for something. Dana White and the UFC didn’t want to do an interim belt so therefore I waited. What was my guarantee and what would I really have been fighting for? I can tell you what I do fight for and that’s to be the champion and what would a win against somebody else have gotten me when I had already earned the number one contender spot?”

For Evans the fight game is about much more than just the in cage action, and the business end of things is something he feels needs more attention from fighters at times.


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Coach Tells Evans He Should Be Willing to Fight Jones


Trevor Wittman has advised Rashad Evans to fight teammate Jon Jones if Jones wins the UFC light heavyweight title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128.

Evans had been scheduled to challenge Rua at the March 19 event. When Evans sprained a ligament in his knee, however, Jones filled in as his replacement.

“Mentally, I know it’s a little rough for [Evans] to see one of the guys he made a pact with to not fight go out there and take his position,” said Wittman, who is the head coach at the Grudge Training Center, a Jackson’s MMA affiliate gym where Evans has trained. “… I had the conversation with Rashad that I felt Rashad should fight Jon Jones if he wins.”

Wittman does in fact think Jones will beat Rua. He believes the 23-year-old could become one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. However, Wittman doesn’t feel Jones should have moved into Evans’ spot.

“I feel Jon Jones could have been like, ‘Hey man, I’ll tell you what. I’m going to take another fight,’” Wittman said. “And let Rashad — he’s not at the beginning of his career. He’s at the peak and the tail end of it. Let him go fight for it.”

Regardless, now that Jones could soon be the light heavyweight champion, Wittman sees no problem with the teammates fighting each other.

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Rising MMA talent Ryan Bader from Reno hits toughest test

By Jim Krajewski

He recently suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts career, but Ryan Bader still has his sights set on winning a title. Bader, who lost to Jon Jones earlier this month via second-round tap out, is not sure when he will fight next. He would like to fight three times a year.

“Training for a fight requires two-plus months of preparation and it takes a lot out of you. Your body needs some time off after that, not necessarily from the fight, but from the training camp,” he wrote from Australia, where he was promoting but not participating in an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight. “My goal is to be champion.”

Even with the loss, Bader (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), still is ranked No. 7 in the latest UFC light heavyweight rankings by Curt Heinrichs compiled the rankings, and says the 27-year-old from Reno has knockout power and will be a force in his weight class.

“Bader took a step backwards in the division when he lost to Jon Jones, but he is still young and improving every time he steps into the octagon,” Heinrichs wrote.

He doesn’t have any fights in his immediate future, but Bader, who wrestled for Arizona State in college, is staying busy. He is preparing to open a combination MMA and fitness gym in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 25,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open March 19.

“People can come train to be a fighter, just take a Jiu Jitsu class, run on the treadmill, lift weights, and anything and everything in between,” Bader said.


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