Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has remained as reserved as usual leading up to his first UFC light heavyweight title defense – which will come against young upstart Jon Jones tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 128 – but in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani, Rua opened up a bit about some of the negative feelings he harbors towards Jones.
During media promotion for their big fight, Jones has been signing his autographs as “Champion 2011,” which slightly irks Rua.
“I think his demeanor is ridiculous actually because you cannot really go signing as a champion without being the champion, I think that’s disrespectful,” said Rua. “But each and everyone has their own personality, so everybody has to walk the walk and talk the talk. He has to stand by his actions and pay his bill. I really don’t like his behavior, but now he has to back up the talk.”
Jones stepped in against Rua for his teammate Rashad Evans, who was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title fight after suffering a knee injury, and Rua cited the late opponent switch as well as the amount of hype surrounding Jones as being key factors in motivating him during training.
“Everything that has been said, everything that people were saying, the whole hype really serves as motivation and even the change of opponent so close to the fight is a source of motivation, because it’s a challenge,” he said.
Though Rua’s camp has been vocal in expressing their anger at being overlooked and opening as an underdog against Jones, the champ himself maintains that he isn’t taking the betting lines to heart.
“I knew that the media and the betting lines would be in his favor, everybody would be going for him, but what really gives me motivation are my fans. So, I don’t care,” said Rua.
Rua and Jones meet to dispute the UFC 205lbs. crown tomorrow night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey; don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com for live, ongoing coverage of the event.