The continuation of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s career seemed to be in doubt after “Minotauro” suffered a broken arm due to his refusal to tap in a match-up against Frank Mir late last year. The injured limb didn’t heal as quickly as initially thought, leaving fans to wonder if they’d seen the last of the legendary 36-year old inside the Octagon.
Luckily, Nogueira lived up to his reputation for an uncanny ability to overcome adversity and stepped up on short notice for a fight with Dave Herman this weekend at UFC 153. In a recent interview with the UFC, the affable heavyweight explained he isn’t rushing his rehab in order to fight even if he’s dead-set on stopping Herman in their bout based on the big man’s reputation for trash-talk.
“I’m very happy to be back. My arm is healthy and I’ve rehabbed it so hard I think it is now stronger than my other arm,” said Nogueira of his current status. “I had to work hard for so long to get my strength and power back and I am so happy to be fighting in Rio, where I live most of the year.”
As far as Herman goes, Nogueira admitted “Pee Wee” possesses a few tricks up his sleeve but has little on him when it comes to overall ability.
“Dave Herman is a good wrestler, has great double-legs, and is a big guy,” began Nogueira, showing some respect to his foe before adding, “He talks smack about BJJ but he’s not fought someone with submissions like me before. I will knock him out or submit him.”
Nogueira is 4-3 since coming over to the UFC from PRIDE where he first made a name for himself. He holds an overall record of 33-7-1 including victories over stand-outs like Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Randy Couture, and Fabricio Werdum. Comparably, Herman is 21-4 with twenty finishes but is likely fighting for his job on Saturday night after suffering losses to Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson in his last two outings.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC