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Shogun Rua after training with Freddie Roach: I punch like Superman now

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Mauricio Rua feels like a new man, but can an old dog (in fight years) learn new tricks?

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Mauricio Rua is pulling out the stops in advance of his upcoming (Aug. 17, 2013) UFC Fight Night 26 main event against Chael Sonnen in Boston, Massachusetts, even training with renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach, as revealed by a special UFC feature video yesterday.

The Brazilian explained how both men surprisingly wound up working together.

"This all happened because my manager contacted Freddie Roach and his team and scheduled some training sessions. It's been really good for me because I've learned some details to improve my fighting."

Roach, who's worked with elite boxers like Manny Paquiao and Amir Khan, has also helped MMA fighters like current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.

The top trainer had some very nice things to say about Rua and his rapid improvement as well:

"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. He's a great puncher, a great striker and in a short time he's come a long way. When he first got here, his mechanics were a little off. When I tell him something, he understands what I mean. It doesn't take long for him to pick it up. Guys with talent pick stuff like that up quickly. It's been a lot of fun."

Rua also mentioned putting some significant time working on refining his jab, which could potentially help him keep Chael Sonnen at bay on the feet and define the proper distance of the fight.

"Shogun" has already scored impressive knockouts throughout his UFC career over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and most recently Brandon Vera, but after working with Roach, he feels like a completely new man:

"He really saw an improvement in my punches because of the coaching he gave me. So now, I punch like Superman!"

If the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion can stay upright, having the ability to punch like Superman certainly wouldn't hurt.