If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought it was Jon Jones that was entering the Prudential Center on Saturday with the UFC light heavyweight title wrapped around his waist.
While reigning king Mauricio “Shogun” Rua didn’t get a chance to rub elbows with rapper 50 Cent, appear on Fox’s ‘Good Day New York,’ land an interview with ESPN or score his very own Spike TV special like his challenger, Shogun remains unfazed with being overshadowed by the budding superstar.
Publicity isn’t the only area the Brazilian has taken a hit, the Gambling Gods have also pegged him as a one-and-done champion. “Bones” is nearly a 2-to-1 favorite to capture the crown at UFC 128.
“It doesn’t bother me. He has been winning all of his fights decisively,” Shogun said through an interpreter during this week’s press conference. “He’s been doing great performances and he’s rightfully the favorite. He’s the favorite in the betting lines because of his performances, because of what he earned.
“He’s [also] pretty much fighting in his hometown, so it’s only right he’s the favorite for the fight.”
It’s only right? Shogun owns an impressive 19-4 record, with 17 of his victories coming by way of devastating finish. He’s won three of his last four bouts, with his only loss during that stretch coming in a highly controversial decision against Lyoto Machida, which prompted an automatic rematch. Oh yeah, he also dons the hardware.
Is it possible Shogun is playing a game of possum? Is he just saying all the right things to stroke the youngster’s ego, knowing damn well he’s gonna bust him in his mouth on Saturday?
Or Shogun simply prefers to let sleeping dogs lie (Please see: Jon Jones’ resume).
I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.