New conditioning coach believes 'Shogun' is gonna 'tear Forrest Griffin apart'

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One of the key factors in Forrest Griffin's original victory over Mauricio Rua nearly four years ago was an issue with cardio.

In fact, problems with conditioning have plagued "Shogun" multiple times in his UFC career, including his fight with Mark Coleman and his most recent bout against Jon Jones, during which he lost his light heavyweight title at UFC 128.

While a lingering knee injury also played a part, Rua pulled out all the stops in preparation for Saturday night's UFC 134 rematch with Griffin by hiring top conditioning coach, Todd Norman.

Norman has worked with premiere MMA fighters like Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Munoz, Renato Sobral and even other top athletes like Mark Sanchez and Lindsay Davenport. 

In a recent interview, the former conditioning coach for the Anaheim Ducks hockey team stated that he believes cardio won't be a problem in Saturday night's fight in Brazil:

"The thing I do first and foremost with these guys is work on core strength and stability.A lot of the movements that they have to get out of or get into require rotational strength and power so core is kind of the foundation of what I do with these guys. Then we get into all the athletic develop training like foot speed, agility and reaction which is something a lot of these guys haven't had. They've done a lot of striking and kicking and their MMA techniques but when it comes to pure athleticism and coordination, I try to get that foundation underneath them first. Once we've built the foundation for the athlete, then we tailor to more fight-specific training from a strength and conditioning standpoint. With Shogun right now, we're getting to that phase where we are working on more cardio and conditioning to make it more fight-specific. By the time he gets to the fight, hopefully the conditioning aspect won't be an issue."

Of course, when asked to make a prediction, it wasn't too difficult who Norman picked to have his hand raised come Saturday night:

"When I'm training someone for a fight or whatever it is, it's 100%, 'You're gonna win and you're gonna dominate.' That's the way it is. The mind-set can't be any other way. I think the athlete or the fighter have got to believe in themself and I think whoever is working with them has got to be 100% believing in them. That's the way I am. To me, 100% 'Shogun' is gonna rip him up, tear him apart."

Confidence could be a key issue for Rua as he heads into this fight. He's coming off a humiliating defeat to Jones in which he was completely mauled for nearly three rounds before being stopped and even tapping to strikes immediately after the referee intervened.

He's not only got that loss in the back of his head, but the previous loss to Griffin -- a third round submission via rear naked choke -- to deal with. He's likely been fielding questions about both losses in every interview he's had to do in the lead-up to this co-main event fight.

There's just no getting around it. 

So, Maniacs, will Shogun back up his coach's words on Saturday night in front of his home country? Or will Griffin have his number yet again?

Sound off!

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