When a fighter has been through as many back-and-forth battles as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira there’s no question the abuse is going to take a toll on the individual’s well-being. Nogueira, who has put in forty fights over a twelve-year career involving fights against some of MMA’s top heavyweights, has had his physical shortcomings put on display over the past few years in getting floored twice in a three-fight span despite never having been stopped with strikes prior.
However, thanks to an extended period of recovery dotted with multiple surgeries, Nogueira appears to be back better than ever and earned a knockout of his own in August against Brendan Schaub. Up next for “Minotauro” is an opportunity this weekend at getting revenge against former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir who flattened him in 2008.
Entering the match-up the affable Brazilian will be healthier than he has been in years, a point he elaborated on in a recent conversation with the UFC’s website.
“I was injured for about three years, and I couldn’t perform so well in the last fights. After my last surgery, I took the fight (with Schaub), even though I was like 70 percent. But it was enough for me to be way better than I was before. I was faster, I was punching faster, I had my hips to throw my right hand better because the power comes from the hips, and it was great to fight in better shape and in better condition,” began Nogueira before bottom-lining it by adding, “I’m feeling good right now….I’m feeling better. Before I was feeling like 45; now I feel like 25.”
Still, Nogueira knows he’s not the only one to be a superior version of himself in comparison to three years ago, explaining of his UFC 140 opponent, “I think he’s improved his standup and his Muay Thai’s gotten better. He’s a complete fighter, and he’s improved his endurance. I know I’m gonna face a good opponent, but I’m ready for everything.”
Fans can catch Nogueira and Mir mix it up on PPV when things start at 9:00 PM EST. UFC 140 is headlined by Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight title against polished Brazilian Lyoto Machida, while Nogueira’s twin brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will also battle former 205-pound king Tito Ortiz in other main card action.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC