Former Pride FC Heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is undoubtedly in the twilight of his career. The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu wiz ace endured two vicious submission losses in the last two years.
The first was an arm-wrenching kimura to Frank Mir at UFC 140. Now “Big Nog” is on the shelf mending from an injury sustained at the hands of a brutal Fabricio Werdum armbar at UFC on Fuel TV 10 this June.
That left the legend in the unenviable spot of having lost three out of his last five UFC bouts. His two wins were over Brendan Schaub and Dave Herman, not exactly the cream of the Heavyweight crop. But although “Big Nog” can’t resume training until early next year, he already has his eyes on a potential opponent. That opponent is Roy “Big Country” Nelson, himself the owner of a two-fight losing skid:
“I’m totally interested in this fight. He’s a tough athlete and is always fighting the tops. I would like to fight him. He has a heavy hand and would be a good challenge. I’m not training hard yet, but I’m always training something with my coaches. But I won’t be able to train hard before January. I want to be back to the cage by March or April. I’ll be recovered from my injury by the end of the year. Ligament injuries require six months to recover, so I can’t come back before that.” – via MMA Fighting
Nelson was one of the hottest 265 lbs. fighters on the planet earlier this year, but consecutive losses to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier sent his stock plummeting downward. Both “Minotauro” and Nelson have much to prove so this bout does make a ton of sense.
“Big Nog” has been regarded for his iron chin, but if anyone can test it, “Big Country” can. If and when this fight takes place a lot of it is going to hinge on Nogueira’s physical condition after two debilitating injuries.
Thankfully, he’d be facing an opponent that is hardly known for his cardio.
The recent knock on both Nogueira brothers has definitely been injuries. “Lil’ Nog” was scheduled to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson twice only to bow out. His latest injury saw him withdraw from a proposed March bout with Gustafsson four months ahead of time.
And his bigger brother hasn’t fared much better.
Like many of the Pride legends that are still fighting, injuries, age, and overall wear-and-tear are beginning to take their toll on “Big Nog.” Nogueira and Nelson will be eager to show they still have what it takes to compete inside the Octagon.
Is this matchup a perfect return bout for both fighters?