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Both Chuck Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua Retooling for Their UFC 97 Match

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The Chuck Liddell vs Shogun Rua fight at UFC 97 could be the last hurrah as top contenders at 205lbs for one or both of these stars. And they're taking the fight seriously, both men reconfiguring their training regimes.

Chuck Liddell:

To help "address his mistakes" or to help him evolve as a fighter, Liddell enlisted the help of the guys over at American Top Team, considered to be one of the best training camps in MMA.

"I spent some time down in Florida, and since then, I have brought a part of their camp to mine. It has been very beneficial to work with them. Everything was covered; I am in great shape right now. Everything is working for me and I am ready to go."

If Danillo Villefort and the guys over at ATT did their job, Liddell may come out working better then ever.

One thing to consider about Chuck training with Villefort is Villefort's judo background. The kid's not just a BJJ blackbelt, he's the son of Master Indio, one of the old vale tudo legends of Brazil and one of the first to combine Judo with BJJ. I'll be watching to see if Chuck busts out any foot sweeps or throws in the clinch against Shogun.

Shogun Rua:

Rua touts his decision to make radical changes to his training regimen as a reason to believe in him again. Besides moving to Sao Paulo, Brazil -- where he spent the last five weeks training three times a day with top professionals like middleweight contender Demian Maia, wrestling coach Renato Roma and conditioning expert Eric Haddad -- Rua also hired Chute Boxe Academy trainer Sergio Cunha, one of the most respected men in Brazil.

"Cunha is my head coach, and he's a very complete guy," Rua said. "He organizes my training schedule. I'm very happy with him, and I hope I have a longtime partnership with him."

Since he entered the UFC, Rua’s conditioning -- or lack of it -- has come under heavy scrutiny. As such, Haddad has kept the magnetic Brazilian closer to the 205-pound threshold for light heavyweights.

"I’m weighing 215 pounds," Rua said. "I was at 226 pounds, but Eric told me to stay at 215 and lose just few pounds for the fight."

...
"It has changed all my preparation," he said. "I’m 100 percent focused on training; my life here is a routine. Very early in the morning, I leave home and go to the gym. I’m training three times a day. I was with good trainers [before I fought Coleman], but I wasn’t this focused. Maybe it was because I was at home with my family, and I was a little relaxed. Here, I have more motivation."
...
"I went a year and a half without fighting, and I feel I lost my rhythm a little, but now I’m back," Rua said. "I was calm and well-trained, wasn’t tense; it was lack of fight rhythm."

Its interesting (and a good sign) that Shogun is training with his old trainer from Chute Boxe Sergio Cunha. I blame the knee injuries (and surgeries) for most of Shogun's problems in the UFC, but going back to the old trainer can't hurt. You never had to worry about Shogun gassing in the PRIDE days. Of course you also had to worry about him stomping on your head, not something he'll be doing in the Octagon.

Image via mmamania.com