“Iron sharpens iron”, as the saying goes, so it is no surprise that heavyweight contender Benjamin Adegbuyi (18-2, 13 KO’s) was brought in by Swedish MMA team All Stars last year to work with UFC light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson for some stand-up sparring.
Romania’s Adegbuyi, along with his Respect Gym team mates Andrei and Bogdan Stoica, spent some time in Stockholm with Gustafsson ahead of his fight with noted striker Jimi Manuwa. The work paid off when Gustafsson ended Manuwa’s undefeated run by stopping him during a standing exchange.
Now another UFC light-heavyweight contender is bringing in one of GLORY’s finest for some stand-up work ahead of a key bout as Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson prepares to take on Jon Jones for his world championship title.
GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven will be joining ‘Rumble’ at The Blackzilians training academy in Florida, USA to form part of his camp for the crucial clash. Adegbuyi - who hopes to challenge Verhoeven later this year - thinks the benefits for Johnson will be mental, as he doesn’t see a lot of direct parallels between Jones and Verhoeven stylistically.
“Rico has good stand-up but Jon Jones’ stand-up fighting style is very different to the normal style which most guys do. He doesn’t fight like a kickboxer. Maybe Rico will help because he is a big, technical guy and if Rumble can handle the pressure that Rico brings, that will be great for him and his confidence,” he says.
“But the style is so different - [Jones] is always running, moving. It is very different to a European style of kickboxing - we don’t run.
“I think Jones doesn’t like pressure. Cormier was trying to put that pressure on him but I think his conditioning wasn’t so good and after two or three rounds he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to.”
Ironically, Johnson finds himself in the title fight against Jones having beaten Gustafsson in a contender-elimination bout. The Romanian squad had hoped to be in Sweden for that fight camp but there was a clash of timings.
“They wanted us to come out [to Sweden] and help with the preparation for the fight with [Anthony] ‘Rumble’ [Johnson] but it was holiday period here in Romania and we had commitments with our families,” explains Adegbuyi.
“We were really sorry about that, but we are still in touch and we will work together again I think.”
In the meantime Adegbuyi prepares for a contender elimination bout of his own. He is 3-0 in GLORY and faces Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva (38-11-1, 24 KO’s) at GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO on Friday May 8. If he wins the bout - which headlines the Superfight Series card - his name will be prominent in the title-shot conversation and a championship fight cannot be far off.
GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO is headlined by Artem ‘The Lion’ Levin defending the World Middleweight Championship in a fight with bitter rival Simon ‘Bad Bwoy’ Marcus of Canada, winner of the GLORY 20 DUBAI Middleweight Contender Tournament earlier this month.
The event airs in the US on Spike TV at 11pm ET.