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“Minotauro” Nogueira focused on recovery, won’t fight until late 2011

It has been nearly eleven months since the last time Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira stepped into the Octagon and, according “Minotauro” himself, it’s likely he won’t do so again for at least another nine if not longer. Known as much for his ability to overcome damage as his world-class grappling, the MMA legend has dealt with a number of medical issues over the past several years and recently decided to allow his body to heal completely before undergoing the rigors of returning to the ring.

“I’m doing my third surgery within a month,” the popular Brazilian explained in a conversation with Tatame. “There were three injuries that I had: my knee, my right hip and my left hip. I have these injuries for eight years, but about three years ago it started blocking me from training hard. I handled it, but I couldn’t do my last fight and really, if you can’t train 100%, you won’t do a good fight. I did these surgeries on the right time and I’m treating myself with the greatest hip doctor of the world…the guy guarantees I’ll be 100% for the second (part of the year).”

Nogueira was knocked out by heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez in February 2010 at UFC 110 after having outpointed Randy Couture in his previous bout.

As far as a specific show, or even an opponent, for his return to action the PRIDE icon expressed his interest in competing at the UFC’s upcoming event in Rio de Janeiro but wasn’t sure if he’d be completely recovered in time for the Fall 2011 card.

And, while he didn’t mention having anyone in particular on his mind, Nogueira showed interest in possibly facing Brock Lesnar one day, saying, “(Junior dos Santos) will fight Lesnar now, but he’s a guy I’ve always wanted to confront and it’d be a great fight. I enjoy fighting big guys. I think it forces me to use my speed and my guard…I’ve always been interested on fighting bigger guys.”

In closing, Nogueira made it clear he may have made his name in the past by taking on the world’s cream of the heavyweight crop but that fans shouldn’t write him off because of his recent 1-2 record. “I’ve fought the best of my division. I didn’t have an easy opponent. I really am one of the guys who fought great guys, but I have much more to show you, I am not done yet.”

“Minotauro” is 32-6-1 in his career with wins over a number of top opponents including Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Mark Coleman in their prime, as well as Couture, Dan Henderson, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, and Fabricio Werdum. Twenty of the submission-specialist’s wins have come by way of tapout.


  • Angry Mike says:

    The orthopaedic injuries may have affected his training and ability to perform, but the long-term issue is the cumulative affect of the strikes. He’s been fighting since the 1990’s and has been in some wars. He’s been ko’d twice in the recent past by Mir and Velasquez, and it’s always been my understanding that the more often you’re ko’d, the quicker it happens. That’s what seemed to happen to Liddell. Maybe ‘Nog can rehab from the surgeries, but at some point he has to consider his health.

  • Rece Rock says:

    still has a young mind and heart but his body is older than his age.

  • MCM says:

    No kidding Rece. The guy is only 34 or so and he looked like Randy’s dad. I still love Big Nog though and would like to see him be competitive for the next 3 or 4 years

    Just to go slightly off topic, but Nog was most peoples top pick for Carwin’s next match. Who are they gonna put in against Carwin now?
    Kongo? He’s a good striker with an excellent chin, but I think he’s scheduled to rematch Browne
    Herring? I wish.
    Rothwell? Another guy that can take a ton of damage and keep coming forward.
    Mirko? Maybe, but it would be Cro Cops last fight in the UFC.

    back on topic…
    I hope Nog does get better in time for the Brazil show, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him take on Struve or rematch Mir in hopes of getting a technical ground war.

  • Dufresne says:

    His knee and both hips? That explains why we haven’t seen much of his BJJ lately.

    Hopefully this layoff will allow these injuries/surgeries to heal up and maybe it’ll even help him get some of his chin back. I know you can’t completely recover from some of the shots he’s taken and wars he’s been in, but if he can just get enough back in the tank to be a serious threat again I’d be happy.

  • MCM says:

    I know everyone is asking whether or not Nog’s chin is gone due to all the wars he was in, but I truly believe that some of those shots he took in PRIDE would have resulted in TKO’s had he been in the US. I thought Herb was gonna stop the Sylvia fight, and he probably would have if it wasn’t for Nog’s reputation of getting destroyed for 10 or 15 mins only to come back and pull out the sub.
    I think that Nog is probably gonna loose 1 or 2 more times by TKO, but I don’t think it should be as big a shock or an indication that he should no longer compete and more an indication of the value refs place on fighter safety today.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i’m still amazed every time i see a picture of big nog, that i’m actually older than him, it just doesnt fathom. guy looks like he could be my dad, plus i been watching him since 10 years or so since he first went pro, i always looked up to him as a hero of mine and yet i got a good few months on him


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