Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has spent time in the cage with both Jon Jones — to whom he relinquished his title this past March — and Lyoto Machida — whom he defeated to earn the belt in the first place — and believes that “The Dragon” has one of the best styles in the division to take out the young champion.
“Shogun” spoke with Sherdog.com recently and detailed why Machida will not only defeat Randy Couture in their match up scheduled for later this month, but will also be the man to take out “Bones” when his time comes.
“He has every chance to beat Jones,” Rua said of his fellow Brazilian. “His counterattack style is very strong and tough to beat. I think his style could match perfectly with Jones’ style. I’d bet on him if I had to.”
As for Machida’s upcoming bout with the UFC Hall of Famer, Rua sees Couture’s only chance at victory being to get Machida to the ground — a task which he can attest is easier said than done.
“Lyoto’s going to win,” he said. “He’s very fast and agile for the division, and Couture is not at his best. It’s very difficult to force a ground fight with Lyoto. He has a strong base and balance. If Couture puts him down, he has a chance to win. He’s always dangerous, but he can only win if he can get the fight on the ground.”
Machida — who has engaged in two memorable bouts against “Shogun” in the UFC — shares a similar sentiment toward Rua, telling Sherdog himself recently that he doesn’t believe that the best “Shogun” showed up in the cage last month against Jones and that, if he did, Jones would likely have been in trouble.
“Shogun is a tough guy. It’s no accident he’s reached the level where he’s at. He has won everything he has won by his talent and effort. I know Shogun has more to show than that,” Machida said of Rua’s failed title defense. “Maybe he failed to bring his game or maybe he felt the pressure of defending the belt for the first time. As I’ve said before, there are other factors we don’t know about, other factors that may have interfered. They changed opponents on him. That can interfere with a fight. I have no doubt he could have fought better.
“I’m sure if Shogun was the same fighter he was when we fought in Los Angeles the fight would have been much more difficult for Jones. Shogun would have had a great chance, and it would not have been as easy as it was.”