Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been around the sport of MMA for so many years that his name has become synonymous with the fight game. Now, as he tries to push his way back into contending for the UFC heavyweight title, “Minotauro” is looking to avenge a haunting loss.
This Saturday night, Nogueira takes on Frank Mir in the co-main event of UFC 140. Mir defeated Nogueira back at UFC 92, handing the legend his first knockout loss of his career.
Since that time, Nogueira has had an up-and-down run, going 2-1. He defeated Randy Couture, lost to Cain Velasquez and stopped Brendan Schaub earlier this year.
“I’m feeling better,” said Nogueira, in a recent interview with the UFC’s website. “Before I was feeling like 45; now I feel like 25.”
As for that day in 2008 when Mir stopped him, Nogueira says, “He won that day, I can’t change the story. That day he fought better. He was faster, he was more athletic than me, and it worked for his game.”
“Big Nog” would like nothing more than to defeat Mir and work his way right into contending for the ultimate prize, but that would be on hold if Junior dos Santos remains champion. Nogueira and dos Santos are training partners and friends, and “Minotauro” has said several times he would never gave his student.
“I don’t have that goal right now to fight for the title because he’s got the title,” Nogueira said. “I want to be the best I can in my weight division, but it is not my goal right now.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC