Former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is still on the mend from surgery, however he still manages the time to offer an opinion.
“Minotauro” is not only lauded as one of the leading men in the heavyweight division, despite having gone 1-2 in his last three outings inside the octagon, but he is also becoming a great trainer for up and coming talent.
Case in point, his Black House team which has produced some of the best fighters in the world, including Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva, two men that Antonio has spent time training in the past. Since then, Belfort has surrounded himself with the Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, while Silva has remained with Antonio. Needless to say, the submission specialist is pulling for his boy Silva in his upcoming title fight.
Nogueira was recently tracked down by TATAME.com who managed to speak with the former PRIDE star concerning the the middleweight title fight this February, which headlines “UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort” in a pay-per-view event. The Brazilian had this to say:
“Vitor is very good in striking, he’s good on the ground, has a good Wrestling, he’s complete. Anderson is a genius of the sport, has heart, he’s a showman. He can do a little bit more than the regular fighters, he always has a new trick to bring when he needs it…The fans will like this fight a lot and I’ll be there on the front seats. I already was training partner of both fighters, but now I’m Anderson’s and I cheer for him. I came to Brazil to find a way to help him on his trainings”.
It’s hard to argue. “The Spider” has been on a tear since his inception in the promotion in 2006, rattling off a 12-0 streak with victories over Rich Franklin (twice), Nate Marquardt, Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Forrest Griffin amongst his notable victims.
His striking acumen is second to none, but Vitor does still possess some of the best boxing in the weight class, coupled with the fastest hands to boot.
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of Antonio’s assessment? Do you agree? Who takes this fight? Sound off in the comment section below.