When most people think of “Shogun” Rua and discuss the former champ’s abilities, they likely think of his highlight reel stoppage wins over men like Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell or Forrest Griffin. Depending on how much of an old school MMA they are, they might reflect back on some of his vicious stoppage wins in PRIDE. They may also recall bouts where “Shogun” didn’t look so great (see bout with Alexander Gustafsson), but chances are, they don’t think the man couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag.
Well, when you’re one of the planet’s best boxing coaches, you have a different perspective on what actually constitutes punching power. Rua has been training with renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roch to prepare for this Saturday’s fight with Chael Sonnen, and here’s what he had to say on “The MMA Hour” about his pugilistic abilities.
“It’s funny, when we first started working together [Rua] wasn’t punching really hard because he didn’t have his balance and his feet under him, and I told him he punched like a girl. The last day he said, ‘Freddie, can I ask you a question? Do I punch like a boy now?’ I said, ‘Yes, you do.’ He’s really fun guy to be around and a really hard worker. We had a really good time.”
“He didn’t have his feet under him. He wasn’t pivoting off the right foot at the right time,” Roach explained. “The thing about striking is having weight on the right foot at the right time, and driving off that foot. He was more or less just using his upper body, which is okay. But if you get your whole body behind your shot, it’s just much, much better.”
Now of course, tagging a highly skilled wrestler like Sonnen is going to be Rua’s first challenge, but if “Shogun” has added that much power to his strikes, look out. What a great main event for a FOX card.