It may be hard to believe for some, but it’s been more than eight years since the classic clash between light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio Rua under the PRIDE banner. Both men have continued on to solid success since the showdown, but something about that pairing in particular still resonates with pundits and fans alike. In fact, the two nearly tussled over the summer before an injury pulled Nogueira out of the effort.
Though Rua is scheduled to face Chael Sonnen in a week at UFC Fight Night 26, Nogueira still believes a bout between the two can take place before the end of the year and certainly in 2014. He recently spoke to MMAFighting about the matter, explaining he was confident “Shogun” would escape his outing against Sonnen relatively unscathed and his own health was improving by the day to boot.
“Sonnen may take him down twice, but he won’t be able to do that for five rounds. He will need to stand at some point of the fight and ‘Shogun’ will tag him. I believe ‘Shogun’ will knock him out,” assessed Nogueira.
Asked about his own future, Nogueira said, “I want to fight again this year, absolutely.”
“He is good fight, a good option for me,” he concluded on his interest in a rematch with Rua. “I’m a lot better now, back to boxing training already. I have trained jiu-jitsu last Saturday and it was a little painful, but I believe I’ll be ready to train hard in a month.”
The 37-year old Nogueira is currently riding the momentum of consecutive wins over Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. He is 21-5 in his career with six TKOs and six submissions. Comparably, Rua has compiled a 21-7 mark in the ring including past success against Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, and Chuck Liddell.
Both men have been rumored as likely coaches for TUF Brasil 3, giving a clear-cut path to a pairing at some point soon.