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

Kailin Curran: Paige VanZant rematch would be 'awesome for both our careers'

  • 4 days ago
  • 11 views

Kailin Curran finally took a step forward in her career when she registered her first UFC victory in December. Now she wants to go backward and rematch Paige VanZant.Filed under: Featured Videos, New read news >>

Francimar Barroso excited for first fight on American soil at UFC Fight Night 81

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

Francimar Barroso has only fought once a year since making his UFC debut in 2013. Despite the inactivity, he is sure he can show people he’s ready to fight at the top of the division.Filed under: New read news >>

Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova Weigh-In Results – Title Fights Officially Set

  • 29 days ago
  • 22 views

The fourteen female fighters competing on Saturday's Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova fight card officially weighed in on Friday in California. read news >>

Francisco Trinaldo preparing for UFC Fight Night 81 by 'improving my deficiencies'

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

Francisco Trinaldo has his UFC career rolling. The Brazilian lightweight has rattled off four straight wins to cement his place in one of the deepest division’s in the world’s top MMA promotion.Filed read news >>

LIVE: Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Cruz results

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

Who won what at Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Cruz? Click below to get results for all of the fights at TD Garden on Sunday, Jan. 17 2016 read news >>

Twitter reacts to Eddie Alvarez's upset of Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 81

  • 27 days ago
  • 27 views

Eddie Alvarez has accomplished much in his career, but at UFC Fight Night 81 he earned arguably his biggest victory to date against ex-UFC champ Anthony Pettis. Check out the top Twitter reactions to read news >>

Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Cruz final results

  • 27 days ago
  • 3 views

Who won what at Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Cruz? Click below to get results for all of the fights at TD Garden on Sunday, Jan. 17 2016 read news >>

Dominick Cruz Doesn’t Know What’s Next, Doesn’t Think Injury is Serious

  • 27 days ago
  • 13 views

Having finally regained his bantamweight belt, Dominick Cruz doesn't know what's next and doesn't care. read news >>

Travis Browne Beats Matt Mitrione in Foul-Filled Fight at UFC Fight Night 81

  • 27 days ago
  • 14 views

Matt Mitrione and Travis Browne entered UFC Fight Night 81 at a career crossroads. Mitrione walked into the cage with free agency in mind. Openly discussing his intent to test the market, this bout w read news >>