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Thread: Alexander Gustafsson: Shogun Rua isn't what he was back in the day

  1. Default Alexander Gustafsson: Shogun Rua isn't what he was back in the day

    Alexander Gustafsson: Shogun Rua isn't what he was back in the day - MMA Fighting

    SEATTLE -- If you listen to Alexander Gustafsson speak, you'd think he was already standing victorious at UFC on FOX 5, hands raised over the crumpled body of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. That's not to say Gustafsson is cocky. Far from it, actually. The 25-year-old Swede is one of the most humble fighters you'll ever meet.

    But here's the thing. To him, failure is not an option, so failure does not exist. Anytime you ask Gustafsson to forecast his future, expect to inevitability hear back some combination of the words "when I win" or "after I win." It's the same reason he keeps a tally of his win-loss record tattooed on his right bicep. In mixed martial arts, a sport where setbacks are plentiful and a Hall of Famer can sport 10 losses without batting an eye, keeping such a permanent, visible log of your efforts could be construed as hopeful at best, and short-sighted at worst. But again, failure is not an option with Gustafsson, so he need not worry about such trivialities.

    It's also the reason Gustafsson, long one of the division's brightest prospects, has started to look ahead, if only slightly. As a lanky light heavyweight in his mid-twenties, with a game predicated on ranginess, the comparisons to UFC champion Jon Jones seemed predestined. Gustafsson has heard them as long as he can remember, and until recently, he's brushed any title talk aside. But now Gustafsson is on the verge of making "the leap." A hungry young lion being thrown against a weathered legend who he grew up admiring -- we've heard this story before.

    "I been thinking about that for a long time now," Gustafsson acknowledged. "I visualize a lot of things, a lot of situations. [Shogun] is a beast, but you know, I'm ready."
    There's no question the myth of "Shogun" looms large in Gustafsson's sights. When he first started in this game, Gustafsson uncovered videos on YouTube of the young Brazilian decimating his way through Japan's PRIDE circuit, with a ferocity that bordered on superhuman. That aggression became something Gustafsson strived to emulate, and it ultimately, it became the reason Gustafsson now believes Rua to be vulnerable. "It's going to be a fight that I control from the first minute to the last minute," he promised.

    "I don't think Shogun is what he was back in the day, in his highlight prime. But Shogun is Shogun. He's a legend."
    Rua isn't a stranger to such backhanded criticism. There's little doubting the former champ is an old 31, as a lifetime of wars can only be sustained for so long. When asked for a response to the idea he was passed his prime, Rua simply smiled and laughed. "This sport has changed a lot, the rules," he said through a translator. "Every day you try to (get) better, to improve, so everything in our lives (has) changed."

    For "Shogun," that change has the potential to become a stark reminder on Saturday night. While a win would vault Rua back into title contention, just the same a loss could seal the end of his reign as a title contender. But in reality, that's what the fight game is built on. Young prospects either overtaking grizzled stalwarts or being sent to the back of the line, often in violent fashion either way.

    "What I want to have is a title fight," admitted Gustafsson. "That's why I'm doing this everyday. That's my drive. That's my motivation. I want to have the title one day.

    "Let's see after this fight, when I win against Shogun. I'm going to take those (title) questions then."
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    All these comments Gus make should light a new fire on Shogun's ass, at least I hope so. Shogun can still be the best in the world, only if he was still as hungry as he was before.

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    Something hasn't looked quite right about Shogun to me in his last handful of fights. I don't know if all of the wear and tear has caught up to him or what, but this fight should tell us a lot about where he is right now.

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    He has taken a lot of damage in his fights with Vera, Hendo and especially Jones. I think we are going to see all the damage catch up to him very quickly.
    "If a man with no arms and a man with no legs started learning karate, the same light bulb would appear over every head in Japan. That’s right: Glue them together and see if it can kill a panda."

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1inthechamber View Post
    All these comments Gus make should light a new fire on Shogun's ass, at least I hope so. Shogun can still be the best in the world, only if he was still as hungry as he was before.
    I'm not convinced after his last outting with Vera.
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    Best Fighter on the planet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roaddawg View Post
    I'm not convinced after his last outting with Vera.
    Nope, I hated his last two outings. He definitely didn't perform how we know he could. He's just not hungry anymore imo, but I hope he can prove me wrong.

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    They kind of made Gus sound disrespectful in the title, which I don't believe is the case. I like both of these guys. They are both really good, with Shogun being great by what he has earned and acomplished. I think Gus is good enough to go out there and get it, but I would love to see some vintage Shogun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1inthechamber View Post
    Nope, I hated his last two outings. He definitely didn't perform how we know he could. He's just not hungry anymore imo, but I hope he can prove me wrong.
    What do you expect from him? These are not tickling matches, they are fights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIZjitsZOU View Post
    They kind of made Gus sound disrespectful in the title, which I don't believe is the case. I like both of these guys. They are both really good, with Shogun being great by what he has earned and acomplished. I think Gus is good enough to go out there and get it, but I would love to see some vintage Shogun.
    I also like both guys, if we get anything less than "vintage shogun". Then I rather Gus wins. He's come off a bit "disrespectful" before, saying shogun has "no technique". Its not a big deal but I hope it wakes shogun up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIZjitsZOU View Post
    What do you expect from him? These are not tickling matches, they are fights.
    Actually use his technical muay Thai, not get into some sloppy brawl. Those fights are entertaining but I expect better. Besides, he shouldn't continue taking unnecessary shots and shorten his career more.

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