Brazilian mixed martial artist Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira has spent most of his professional career fighting in Japan, most notably under the Pride Fighting Championships banner. During his time there, he was heralded as one of the best heavyweights, not only in the organization, but also in the world.

Nogueira’s world-class jiu-jitsu combined with sharp boxing and strong overall game earned him the Pride heavyweight title a decade ago, while at the same time, garnered the respect of MMA fans from all across the globe. From Japan to the United States, Europe and his home country of Brazil, “Big Nog” has touched the hearts of diehard fans for several years.

What is surprising is that with all his accomplishments and countless memorable performances overseas, Nogueira is yet to fight within the borders of where he resides. But with UFC 134: Rio, Rodrigo is finally getting his chance to put on a show for his fellow countryman and display his prowess live for the Brazilian faithful.

The excitement to fight in front of the supportive home crowd can hardly be contained, especially after waiting 40 fights to do so.

“It’s going to be my first fight in Brazil (and) my 40th fight of my career,” Nogueira said at the UFC 134: Rio press conference. “And I’m very excited to fight here. I’ve never had the chance to fight (with) the whole crowd on my side.”

Traveling to Japan to fight for the Pride promotion for all those years couldn’t have been an easy excursion. While there, Nogueira wouldn’t have a lot of familiar faces to support him, other than a few exceptions, and sleeping in his own bed was obviously not in the cards for the Brazilian heavyweight.

Now fighting in the UFC, “Big Nog,” at this late stage in his career, has more opportunity than ever before to fight all over the world. UFC 134: Rio couldn’t be a better set-up for the former Pride heavyweight champ.

Heck, he could close up the doors to his gym and take a two-minute ride to the venue for his fight on Saturday night.

With everything related to fight week being so convenient for him in Rio de Janeiro, Nogueira doesn’t feel any pressure going into his bout with Brendan Schaub. Actually, the mood seems as though there is no pressure whatsoever. The vibe and energy Nogueira feels from the home crowd and anticipated family in attendance motivates the MMA veteran to perform that much more in Rio.

Just as this is his first time fighting in Brazil, it is also the first opportunity for his daughter and father to witness him fight in person.

“The arena is just one mile from my gym, so I know all my students are going to be there,” he said. “(It’s) the first time I’m going to fight in front of my family, my daughter, and my father. I’m very excited for that. (Seeing) the energy and all the people on our side, (I’m) going to take it as support, instead of the pressure.”

Follow @Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik Fontanez.
For more
UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Gall excited for 'best 15 minutes of career' vs Punk

  • 17 days ago
  • 3 views

Mickey Gall doesn’t plan on just beating CM Punk at UFC 203 – he plans on destroying the former WWE megastar in his UFC debut. read news >>

On FIGHT PASS: GLORY SuperFight Series 33, Sept. 9 2016 at 8:30 pm ET

  • 16 days ago
  • 3 views

GLORY Kickboxing continually produces fights which turn out to be non-stop wars. Friday's GLORY 33 Superfight Series headliner between middleweight champion Simon 'Bad Bwoy' Marcus and challenger Jas read news >>

CM Punk Comments on MMA Career, Life After WWE and More

  • 16 days ago
  • 4 views

Ahead of his highly anticipated MMA debut against Mickey Gall Saturday at UFC 203, CM Punk discussed his development as a fighter and his past as a WWE Superstar in The Players' Tribune. Punk said th read news >>

Titan FC 41 Results: Kalindra Faria Wins Inaugural Bantamweight Belt | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 37 views

Kalindra Faria closed out her trilogy of fights with Carina Damm, winning a unanimous decision to capture the inaugural Titan FC bantamweight championship. read news >>

UFC's CM Punk Experiment Gets off to a Painful Start

  • 14 days ago
  • 12 views

CM Punk’s new career as an MMA fighter got off to a painful start on Saturday. Punk proved no match for Mickey Gall at UFC 203, as Gall wasted little time taking the former WWE wrestler down and scor read news >>

Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne: One of the Grossest, Weirdest MMA Fights Ever

  • 14 days ago
  • 442 views

After a good night's rest (but not really), it's hard not to look back on UFC 203 with a raised eyebrow. There was no question that it was a solid event. Jimmie Rivera and Jessica Andrade established read news >>

CM Punk’s Drawing Power Might Not Be Enough | MMAWeekly.com

  • 12 days ago
  • 33 views

CM Punk’s UFC career may have been a one-and-done deal. The former WWE superstar made his professional fighting debut on Saturday at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. read news >>

Dana White Says No More Conor McGregor Fights at Welterweight | MMAWeekly.com

  • 12 days ago
  • 483 views

UFC president Dana White says a trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz is unlikely and that McGregor needs to defend his 145-pound title. read news >>

On the Rise: Emerging talent to watch in Hidalgo

  • 12 days ago
  • 1 views

While the final two fights on Saturday’s event at the State Farm Arena are getting the lion’s share of the attention as Fight Night looms, there are a trio of talents competing earlier in the evening read news >>

Daniel Cormier Irate if Jon Jones Fights Anthony Johnson with Interim Belt | MMAWeekly.com

  • 11 days ago
  • 287 views

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is not happy about the idea that Jon Jones could defend the interim title against Anthony Johnson in his return. read news >>