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.

Nogueira has fought just five times dating back to his promotional debut in February 2009. During that same timeframe, he’s withdrawn from five scheduled contests due to a series of injuries to his knees to back to neck.

It’s been a trying situation for Nogueira to return to full health, but after nearly 18 full months on the sidelines, the Brazilian said he’s once again ready for battle.

“I’m very excited to go back because I’m injury-free,” Nogueira told MMAjunkie. “I was hurt for nearly two years, but now I’m fine.”

Nogueira hasn’t been seen in the octagon since he pulled off one of the most surprising upsets of 2013 when he edged former 205-pound champion Rashad Evans by decision at UFC 156. Prior to that, he stopped UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz with first-round strikes at UFC 140.

Those wins had Nogueira riding a strong wave of momentum, but the injuries began to pile up.

“There were two problems during that time,” Nogueira said. “I injured my neck, and that kept me from training for some time. Right after that, I hurt my knee and needed meniscus surgery. After recovery, I started training for Rashad. After Rashad, I was well and was scheduled to fight (Mauricio Rua). But toward the end of that training camp, I did some weight training, some leg exercises, and I felt a pinch in my lower back. I had just returned, from the U.S., I think. It was a long flight, and I went to exercise right after landing. I feel that’s the day I hurt my back.

“I kept training, imagining that my back problem was minor, but then I realized that I had a hernia and a pinched nerve in my L5-S1 (lumbosacral joint). I could feel that my left leg lacked strength, with some numbness on my leg and foot, as well as sciatic pain. About 20 days before the fight, I was training every other day. And about 15 days out, I did some MMA training, but I was not able to walk afterward. And what’s when I had to cancel the fight. I underwent treatment for several months. I was only able to return to training around January of this year.”

The 38-year-old Nogueira is 13 years into his pro career. His longevity in the sport makes it no surprise his body is breaking down and is beginning to fail him.

Injuries are obviously part of the sport, but Nogueira’s consistent woes over the past five years have created persistent doubts about his ability to show up and compete at the highest level of the sport. But the PRIDE veteran insists it’s not due a lack of desire.

“I would never miss out on a fight because I wasn’t motivated,” Nogueira said. “That’s why every time I’ve been hurt, I underwent medical exams to prove that I really was in no physical condition to compete. If I’m scheduled and I know I’m hurt, I always seek the best doctors available. I work with the UFC and the athletic commission to see if there’s any way I can still fight.

“The only way I stop training is due to doctor’s orders. Our fans deserve an answer and the satisfaction of knowing what’s going on. That’s because they enjoy our work, and we need them to keep us in the ranking, and to keep us motivated to train. I know I’ll be giving my best for the fans. I know that any time I fight I’ll be motivated to do give my best.“

While “Minotouro” has won his past two fights, the extended break from competition has made him the forgotten man in a rapidly evolving light heavyweight division.

Nogueira (21-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) hopes to put his name back in the title picture on Saturday when he meets Anthony Johnson (17-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in the UFC on FOX 12 co-main event at San Jose’s SAP Center.

Returning to the octagon against an opponent of Johnson’s caliber on the FOX platform is a lot to ask for Nogueira’s return. That could be why oddsmakers have pegged him as a roughly 5-1 underdog to “Rumble.”

The magnitude of his next task in not lost on Nogueira, but he refuses to let his confidence waver. Some fighters in his position would simply relish the opportunity to compete after such a long break; however, Nogueira isn’t going to San Jose just to fight – he’s going to win.

“I think he’s a great adversary,” Nogueira said of Johnson. “This would be one the biggest challenges of my career. He’s up there with ‘Shogun’ and Dan Henderson. I plan to show up and give my best. I’m highly confident. I’m very focused.”

For more on UFC on FOX 12, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Roy Nelson Says He Could Run USADA Better Than USADA (Video) |

  • 28 days ago

UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson discusses his upcoming bout against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC Brasilia, USADA drug testing, title shots, and more. read news >>

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira headlines UFC Fight Night 100 on Nov. 19

  • 26 days ago

A light heavyweight bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will headline November’s UFC Fight Night 100 fight card, which marks the organization’s final trip to Brazil this ye read news >>

Renan Barao discusses how he beat Phillipe Nover | UFC Fight Night Brasilia

  • 27 days ago

Renan Barao spoke after his win over Phillipe Nover. read news >>

Cris Cyborg vs. Lina Lansberg Results and Reaction from UFC Fight Night 95

  • 26 days ago

Cris Cyborg is a legitimate draw in MMA. She proved that at UFC 198 and, while the company has done everything in its power to pit fans against her, the UFC has never been above grabbing some easy mo read news >>

Tyron Woodley: Why He Doesn't Like 'Wonderboy' Thompson (video) |

  • 25 days ago

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley discusses defeating Robbie Lawler for the title and defending the belt against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205. read news >>

Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez Announced for UFC 205: Latest Details, Reaction

  • 24 days ago

Conor McGregor’s next fight will come against Eddie Alvarez on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York as part of UFC 205. UFC president Dana White confirmed the match will occur on Tuesday duri read news >>

Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero Announced for UFC 205: Latest Details, Reaction

  • 24 days ago

UFC President Dana White announced Tuesday morning that Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero will face off during the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. UFC vice president of public relations read news >>

Jose Aldo Requests Release from UFC Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

  • 24 days ago

Upset about not being given a rematch against Conor McGregor at UFC 205, Jose Aldo has requested a release from his contract. Aldo made his comments to the Brazilian website Combate (translation via  read news >>

Alexander Volkov signs with UFC, faces Timothy Johnson at UFN 99

  • 22 days ago

Longtime Bellator MMA fighter Alexander Volkov has made the transition to the UFC and will debut against Timothy Johnson at UFC Fight Night 99.There's been many Bellator MMA fighters who have ma read news >>

Ryan Bader Steps in to Face Rogerio Nogueira in UFC Sao Paulo Main Event |

  • 21 days ago

Ryan Bader has agreed to step in and fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the UFC Sao Paulo main event. read news >>