Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua is taking his UFC Fight Night 26 bout with Chael Sonnen seriously, working with famed boxing coach Freddie Roach leading up to the August 17 matchup.
In a video interview released by the UFC, Rua and Roach detail what it was like working with one another in preparation for "The American Gangster."
"This all happened because my manager contacted Freddie Roach and his team and scheduled some training sessions," Rua said in Portuguese. "It's been really good for me because I've learned some details to improve my fighting."
Roach made mention of some of the specific problems he was trying to correct with Rua's boxing.
"When we started, he really didn't know how to pivot and put his full weight behind the punches and so forth, but we've been working on that," Roach said. "It doesn't take long for him to pick it up."
The 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion, who has 18 knockouts to his credit, sounds like he believes the whole experience was well worth it.
"He really saw an improvement in my punches because of the coaching he gave me. So now, I punch like Superman!," Rua stated with a laugh.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Rua has always been best-known for his aggressive, powerful striking skills.
Since entering the Octagon for the first time in September 2007, Rua has posted a modest 5-5 record, though he never lost two in a row during that time frame.
In his most recent outing, Shogun lost a fairly one-sided unanimous decision to upcoming light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5 in December.
Despite all the fan excitement for Sonnen vs. Rua, the headlining bout for the UFC's first card on Fox Sports 1, there is a fair possibility "Uncle Chael" may not ultimately gain a fighter's license for the event.
His fate lies in the hands of the Massachusetts State Boxing Commission, which will make the call on whether or not Sonnen is using testosterone replacement therapy as the treatment is intended, via MMA Junkie.
While the UFC has not commented on the matter yet—likely anxiously awaiting the commission's ruling—Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne, the evening's scheduled co-main event, would be the most feasible headlining matchup if Sonnen can't compete on the show.