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.
From Around the Web

Related News

  • a day ago
  • 1 views

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira just bought a ticket for the Brock Lesnar lottery. Operating under the assumption that the current WWE heavyweight champion makes his return to mixed martial arts (MMA) when read news >>

  • 2 days ago
  • 0 views

LAS VEGAS -- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira talks about his emotions seeing his long-time friend Anderson Silva back, whether he thought he would ever fight again, his prediction for Silva vs. Diaz, and hi read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 1 views

Boston was home to UFC Fight Night 59 on Sunday night, and it was full of great fights. The main event featured Dennis Siver and Conor McGregor in a pivotal featherweight feature. Siver was the heavy read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 39 views

MMA Fighting has UFC 182 results for the Jones vs. Cormier fight card Jan. 3, plus live coverage from Las Vegas, live blogs of all the fights, and live UFC 182 twitter updates.In the main event, UFC read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 43 views

Check out our full "Fight Day" preview for UFC 182: "Jones vs Cormier," which takes place tonight (Sat., Jan. 3, 2015) live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring the mammoth lig read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 636 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will send lightweight "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone into battle against undefeated 155-pound sensation Myles Jury in the UFC 182 co-main event, which pops off later ton read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 7 views

Need a refresher on who is fighting on tonight's big UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier PPV in Las Vegas? Check out the full fight card. The time for talking is over, the weigh-ins are complete, and now we c read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 2 views

Kid Nate gets excited about tonight's UFC 182 main event. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 8 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will air a special announcement regarding its UFC Fight Pass digital streaming service, and you can watch the live feed right here today (Sat., Jan. 3, 2015) at 5 read news >>