Antonio Rogerio Nogueira hoping for June fight with Rich Franklin

If all had gone according to plan, UFC light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would be in the midst of preparing to face Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of April’s UFC on Fuel 2 lineup. However, things rarely run smoothly in a sport with as much risk as MMA. After injuring his knee while training for the fight, Nogueira’s focus has since turned towards surgery and the ensuing recovery period.

Fortunately it appears “Little Nog” won’t be out for an extended amount of time based on the relatively minimal nature of the procedure he’ll be going through and even hopes to be back in action by early summer. In fact, he already has a potential opponent in mind – Rich Franklin.

Thiago Silva Steps in for Injured Nogueira Against Gustafsson

It’s like I’m getting my knee cleaned, they’ll take off part of my meniscus and check out my knee-cap,” said Nogueira in an interview with TATAME. “The doctor said it should be a silly procedure, but it’s gotta be done now otherwise it’ll get worse and I don’t wanna make it worse.”

Saying he expects to fight in June as long as he doesn’t suffer any additional setbacks, Nogueira addressed his recent comments on Twitter about facing Franklin, a former middleweight champion and one of the UFC’s most popular pugilists.

“I was supposed to fight him in the past and I already know what game plan to use against him. He’s a guy who likes to stand-up. It’ll be good. One left-handed fighting another left-handed is something good to see,” explained Nogueira. “It would be an excellent fight. I need a good fight. I need to (build on) the performance I had against Tito Ortiz. I owe it to people.”

The 20-5 Nogueira was originally supposed to face Franklin this past August at UFC 133 but had to pull out with an unrelated injury. He was last seen stopping Ortiz with strikes in December.