UFC and Pride legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira confirmed his retirement from MMA (mixed martial arts) this week, rounding off a glittering career that spanned three decades and multiple major title wins. The former RINGS, Pride FC and UFC heavyweight champion became a solid fan favorite during his prime years, and exits the fight game with a 34-10-1-1 NC record.
It’s not a total loss for fans of MMA though, as it was also confirmed that ‘Minotauro’ secured a job as Brazilian UFC ambassador, joining fellow legends Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes in the Zuffa office. Talking to Guillerme Cruz of MMAFighting, Nogueira says he wants to use his position to discover the next big talent from his home country of Brazil:
“I will be the interface between the UFC and the new fighters in Brazil, the new talent. I want to find the new Anderson Silva, the new Nogueria brothers, you know? A lot of talent needs to be discovered in Brazil, and I think I will do this. I love to fight, I will train everyday, but I think now I can work on this side as well,”
“We have many gyms in Brazil and we found a lot of talent already like Junior ‘Cigano’, Rony Jason and a lot of other guys train here as well. I thank Lorenzo Fertitta for giving me this opportunity.”
The later stages of Nogueira’s famous career was scattered with some brutal losses, but he still credits his 2011 performance against Brendan Schaub as one of the greatest moments of his fighting life:
“It was great to go to Brazil with the UFC in 2011, the sport was growing and it was a great time to do camp and fight in the UFC. People started to know me in the street, and (guys like) Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.”
In summary, Nogueira says a win would have been the best way to conclude his fantastic stint as a fighter, but acknowledges that there is more to life than getting a final victory in the octagon:
“Of course I would have liked to have finished my career with a win, with my hand raised, but that doesn’t change anything. We did a lot for the sport, and now it’s time for a different job,”
“We are going to work with small and big shows, find big talents and give them support. We will help the new guys in the UFC, I’m fighting for the country a lot right now, we can’t let those talents go to waste. Thanks to the fans for supporting me for over 15 years in my career, we couldn’t have got there without these guys supporting me, thanks a lot guys you have been so important for my career.”
Ever the nice guy, the once dominant Pride FC champion will obviously still have a huge sway on the sport from his position with the UFC.
Stay tuned to LowKickMMA, as we plan to bring you a countdown of Nogueira’s greatest MMA moments latertoday!