“It’s important to take (everything) step-by-step right now and I’m focusing on this fight,” Shogun commented recently. “Everything can change after that. Right now, (it’s all) about the fight against Gustafsson.”
Try as he might, however, Shogun still gets circled back to Jones.
The Brazilian has no qualms about fighting Jones again, despite losing his UFC light heavyweight title belt to the now-champion at UFC 128 early last year. He also has no qualms, however, about turning down the opportunity to fight him again this year.
Jones had been scheduled to face Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, but Henderson fell out of the bout at the last minute due to injury. The UFC was unsuccessful in securing a new opponent for Jones and subsequently took the unprecedented step of cancelling the event.
Shogun was one of the fighters offered the shot at Jones, but he was unprepared, and thus, unwilling to accept it.
“I was off – totally off training – when the UFC invite me to fight against Jones,” explained Shogun. “Everybody knew that I was off those two weeks after my fight against (Brandon) Vera. So I am satisfied. I told the UFC that I just need six weeks, but I was explaining that (two weeks) is not enough time.”
Shogun had just defeated Brandon Vera on Aug. 4 in a tough fight at UFC on Fox 4. The two battled hard into the fourth round before Shogun finally scored the TKO victory just past the four-minute mark of the round.
It wasn’t an easy fight, and after spending two weeks of down time to recover, he just wasn’t going to be prepared for the perplexing puzzle that is Jon Jones.
That’s okay by Shogun. He’s now working his way back into title contention by facing one of the hottest prospects on the planet in Alexander Gustafsson.
And if you ask him, Shogun did the right thing be stepping away from the short-notice bout against Jones and into the fray against a young tiger like Gustafsson because he’s now prepared, firing on all cylinders.
“I’m in a wonderful place for the Gustafsson fight. Everything’s running okay. The schedule hasn’t change; there’s no injuries,” Shogun declared. “So we’re almost done. I’m ready for this fight.
“I think this is a fight that every fan wants to see because both (of us) look for the knockout.”