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


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

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 >>

Related News

  • 3 days ago
  • 14 views

Down, but not out. "I had surgery four weeks ago, and I'm doing fine now. ACL surgery takes at least five months to return to fighting. I'm doing physical therapy now. I know the limits of my body. I won't get myself injured again. I can do other things. I ride bikes and work out every day, but I can't train yet. I still have what it takes. I will return next year. I have plans to be in shape and fight again, for sure. I want to recover first, and then I will see how I feel." Ultimate Fighting C more

  • 2 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC on Fox 12 comes to you on Saturday, and a significant light heavyweight bout will help round out the card in the co-main event slot. No. 5-ranked contender Anthony "Rumble" Johnson takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Nogueira has been out of action for over a year, but he is still on a two-fight win streak. Johnson is on a seven-fight win streak of his own and picked up a victory in his return to the Octagon over Phil Davis in April. The winner of this fight will put himself in a position to more

  • a day ago
  • 23 views

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship asked Anthony Johnson if he wanted to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, he didn't do the obvious thing. Johnson didn't question if Nogueira would show up come fight night. That may seem strange, given that Nogueira has withdrawn from four of his last six fights due to injury. He has competed just twice in the past three years. You'd think that kind of abysmal track record would lead Johnson to be skeptical about who he would ultimately be fighting at UFC on more

  • 22 hours ago
  • 4 views

UFC light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira knows any time he signs a bout agreement, as he did for this weekend’s UFC on FOX 12 event, there are going to be doubts about his ability to make it through training camp and show up on fight night. Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 28 days ago
  • 10 views

Check out the compete UFC.com Fight Night San Antonio Preview for everything you need to know about the prelims, including fantasy focus. more

  • 28 days ago
  • 39 views

Just don't call it The Ultimate Fighter. Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to expand its global footprint overseas, recently announcing a new developmental deal with Vale Tudo Japan (VTJ), designed to "promote and operate a new tournament series projected to premiere later this year." Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will remember the VTJ series operating under the SHOOTO umbrella and much like its stateside combat sports reality show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), each winner of the more

  • 28 days ago
  • 26 views

The UFC and Vale Tudo Japan/Shooto, a trailblazing and veteran MMA promotion based in Japan, have formed a partnership that includes a new television series.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 28 days ago
  • 53 views

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is establishing some serious roots in the Far East. more

  • 28 days ago
  • 149 views

UFC and the crew behind Vale Tudo Japan and Shooto are cooperating to produce two tournaments for a Japanese TV show that will have the winners join the UFC ranks. During a press conference in Tokyo, Dana White announced that they will be partnering up with a local promotion in Vale Tudo Japan to help build stars and improve their roster of Japanese fighters. The two promotions will cooperate to produce a TV show in Japan that will have tournaments in both bantamweight and featherweight division more