After a Career in Japan, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is Excited for UFC Fight at Home


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

  • 5 days ago
  • 11 views

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir has unfinished business with Brock Lesnar. The pair were pivotal to the sport's boom period highlighted by UFC 100 in 2009. With Lesnar's help, Mir believes read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 1 views

The famed career heavyweight great Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is clearly approaching its end. However, good friend and training partner Anderson Silva is not ready to throw in the towel on his buddy’s read news >>

  • 16 days ago
  • 6 views

All the pressure was on Rory MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 54 on Saturday. Fighting in his own backyard against a relatively unheralded opponent in Tarec Saffiedine, and with a title shot possibly on read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

More fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Sept. 27, 2014) when UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" kicks off from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

It's heavyweight week on Bloody Elbow! Striking specialist Connor Ruebusch breaks down the finer details that led to Mark Hunt's knockout victory over Roy Nelson in Japan, only the second stoppage lo read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 16 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Antonio Silva was knocked out by Andrei Arlovski at the UFC Fight Night 51 mixed martial arts (MMA) event earlier this month in Brasilia, Brazil (more read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC has booked a bunch of fights over the last week, and here's a rundown of what they put together. Since the UFC has decided to produce 50+ events in 2014, there is a remarkable amount of fight read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 9 views

More fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Sept. 27, 2014) when UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" kicks off from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 13 views

Rising featherweights Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will finally battle in a highly-anticipated featherweight match up at UFC 178 this Saturday (Sept. 27, 2014) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in L read news >>