Freddie Roach: ‘Shogun’ Rua now knows how to correctly punch really, really hard

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

If you thought Mauricio Rua was a dangerous striker before working with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach, then you're in for a treat when the Brazilian steps into the Octagon next, because according to Roach, "Shogun" now knows how to hit hard the right way.

If you look at his track record, Mauricio Rua is by all accounts a powerful and dangerous striker in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Widely considered to be one of the most feared stand-up specialists in the sport, "Shogun" has a bevy of knockout (KO) performances under his belt, including the destruction of Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem and Quinton Jackson, among others, thanks to his striking attack.

So, you would think that would impress one of the most famous boxing trainers to ever live, right?

Not really.

Freddie Roach, who is currently working with Rua ahead of his June 15 rematch against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161, says when he first took a look at tape on "Shogun," he wasn't exactly marveling at what he saw.

But, then again, to impress Roach -- a man who has been at the helm of the careers of some of the greatest strikers in the history of combat sports including Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao -- it's going to take more that a few powerful haymakers to impress him.

But, after a few sessions inside his Wild Card Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, Calif., Rua now knows how to throw a powerful punch correctly.

Freddie's words to Gracie Mag:

"I was studying a lot of tape on him to get an idea of how he fights. He didn't know how to transfer his weight too well, and he wasn't a very big puncher at first. Once we got him pivoting and punching off the right foot, keeping his boxing stance, he punched really, really hard when he did it correctly. I don't think he was ever taught how to do it correctly."

Not exactly music to Rua's opponent's ears.

Punching technique aside, one of the issues that has been burdening the Brazilian in his previous outings has been his cardio. After a couple of knee surgeries, Rua has been hot and cold, mostly cold, when it comes to his conditioning.

According to Roach, Rua's knee problems are apparently still lingering, but with the help of his strength coach, they are working together to take care of those issues, as well:

"[Shogun] has a little problem with his knee. I haven't started working on his cardio yet, but he and my strength coach have gotten together ... I think we have to take care of that first before we start getting into the cardio more."

While Roach didn't get into specifics as to what exactly the "problem" with his knee was, he may have unknowingly slipped the cat out of the bag.

But, then again, it's no secret the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion's knees aren't what they once were. Nevertheless, come fight night, Roach is confident all of the issues will be taken care of and most importantly, his striking will be on par.

Bad news for "Little Nog?"

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