UFC heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is the twin brother of UFC light-heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. They are often referred to by the MMA community as “Big Nog” and “Lil’ Nog”, respectively. Both brothers are named after their father, Antonio Amielto Nogueira. Minotauro can be told apart from his brother by his larger build and the scar on his lower back. The scar is from a truck that ran over Big Nog when he was just 11-years old.
Minotauro made his MMA debut at World Extreme Fighting 6 in June of 1999. He bounced between the WEF and Rings promotions defeating his first four opponents via first-round submissions. He managed to defeat Jeremy Horn via unanimous decision to win the WEF Heavyweight Superfight Championship in January of 2000. He then entered the Rings 1999 King of Kings Tournament, where he suffered his first loss in the semifinal round via split decision to Dan Henderson.
He followed up his first loss with his only draw, against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at Rings: Millennium Combine 3. Nogueira rebounded from the loss and draw with a 13-fight win streak. He racked up first-round submission wins over Gary Goodridge and Mark Coleman. He defeated Valentjin Overeem for the second time. He won the Pride Heavyweight Championship with a unanimous decision win over Heath Herring. At Pride 19, he defeated Enson Inoue via technical submission with a triangle choke. He defended his heavyweight championship four times, including submission victories of Bob Sapp and Semmy Schilt.
Nogueira also avenged his split decision loss to Henderson with an armbar victory at Pride 24 before losing his heavyweight belt to Fedor Emelianenko at Pride 25. Minotauro then racked up five straight wins over the likes of Ricco Rodriguez, Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, Herring and Sergei Kharitonov. His next two battles were against the man who took his belt, Fedor. The first fight ended in a “no contest” as a result of an accidental head butt. The second was a unanimous decision loss at Pride Shockwave 2004.
Nogueira continued to tear through most competitors in Japan, defeating Pawel Nastula, Kiyoshi Tamura, Wagner Martins and Fabricio Werdum before dropping a split decision to Josh Barnett in the semifinal round of the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix. He defeated Barnett via unanimous decision in the rematch at Pride Shockwave 2006. Nogueira then defeated Herring for the third time in his UFC promotional debut. In his second UFC fight, Nogueira claimed the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship with a guillotine submission of Tim Sylvia at UFC 81. It was a title he promptly lost to Frank Mir. He immediately followed up that title loss with a decision victory over Randy Couture in a bout that was voted 2009 Fight of the Year, as well as that evening’s Fight of the Night.
Nog has gone 3-3 in his last six fights, including two losses to Mir – the last being a technical submission that saw Mir snap Nogueira’s humerus bone with a kimura. After repairing and rehabbing his arm, Big Nog returned to the win column with a Submission of the Night armbar win over Dave “Jiujitsu Doesn’t Work On Me” Herman.
Nogueira is expected to meet his fellow The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 coach, Werdum, in the Octagon on June 8 at UFC on Fuel TV 10.
Photo credit: MMAWeekly.com