A heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-8-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Roy Nelson (19-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) is being targeted for the UFC’s upcoming return to Abu Dhabi.
“UFC Tonight” first reported the news on Wednesday. Although an exact date hasn’t been determined for the event, it could happen as soon as May, according to the report.
Nogueira, who’s been on the sidelines since a June loss to Fabricio Werdum, recently told MMAjunkie Radio he wants a fight with Nelson.
“If it’s [Nelson], I think it will be a good fight because the guy is tough,” Nogueira said. “(He’s) the kind of guy I like to fight.”
The UFC hasn’t been to the United Arab Emirates since UFC 112 in 2010, which included a championship doubleheader (and heavy criticism for then-middleweight champ Anderson Silva, who showboated and disengaged during much of his five-round headliner with challenger Demian Maia). The UFC has teased a potential return to Abu Dhabi in recent years, though such plans never materialized.
Nogueira has alternated between wins and losses during his seven fights since winning the UFC interim title in 2008. Limited to about a fight a year since then due to injuries, the 37-year-old would likely meet another fighter in a must-win situation in Nelson, who suffered decision losses to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in his two most recent outings.
For more on UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Roy Nelson)