If there is a man in the light heavyweight division never to be counted out, it is Scotland’s Paul Craig, who became notorious for scoring late submission wins in fights he was losing up until tapping out their opponents with a triangle choke. Now, paired up against former champion Mauricio Rua for UFC Sao Paulo’s co-main event on short notice, the ‘Bearjew’ feels ready for the challenge.
Craig accepted to fight ‘Shogun’ on a less than one month’s notice, after Rua’s original opponent, Sam Alvey, pulled out of the bout with a broken hand. However, Paul believes the time he had was enough to prepare for Mauricio, and plans to use a victory over such a big name to advance in the division.
“When your boss calls you, you must be prepared.” Craig told Ag Fight. “I really like to train and prepare. I don’t train to get in shape, but to take those challenges. I’m always ready. When you have the opportunity to fight a legend such as Shogun, you have to take it. Like I said, I like to be constantly fighting and evolving. If I take too much time off, my status will remain the same and I want to advance in my division.”
One of light heavyweight’s most aggressive strikers, Rua is known for his muay thai and highlight reel knockouts, but Craig seems unfazed by Mauricio’s track record. Although he ackowledges that there is a chance the fight could end quickly, Paul thinks he might also be the one to finish it early in Brazil.
“When you have a fight against such aggressive guys like Shogun and myself, who are always looking for submissions and knockouts, that’s the tendency (a quick fight). It’s going to be a very interesting fight, but we won’t change our gameplan for him. Of course, if we can finish it early, we will.”
In his last outing, Paul Craig (12-4) tapped out Vinicus Moreira with a rear-naked choke, back in September. The win came after a knockout loss to Alonzo Menifield, in June. Now, the 31-year-old is expected to take on Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 164, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 16.
The card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between former middleweight contender Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Jan Blachowicz.