After 19 years and 32 professional MMA matches, light heavyweight veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira sounds like he’s ready to hang up his gloves. At 44 years of age, ‘Lil Nog’ is headed to a trilogy bout against long time rival Mauricio Rua, who won their two previous matches in 2005 and 2015.
Now, scheduled to take on ‘Shogun’ at UFC Fight Night 172, Nogueira believes he is at the right time in his life to move on to different projects. In an interview with MMA Fighting, the Brazilian MMA legend seemed at peace with the decision and ready to put on one last great show for his fans.
“I think the time has arrived,” Nogueira said. “It’s a lot of work, several projects, the head doesn’t stop. I’ll do my things, but I’m sure I’ll adapt to not fighting anymore. It’s going to be hard [laughs], maybe I’ll have to do more yoga and meditation to get me focused on doing other things instead of thinking about fights. And I’ll be a coach, I have my team, I’ll be able to train them, so it’s okay. Maybe finding new champions will satisfy this desire or winning.”
Although Nogueira admits he will miss the thrill of fighting, he also believes that training new athletes at Team Nogueira might fill that gap. Furthermore, having the chance to end his career against such a rival in Shogun could just the kind of closure he feels is necessary in order to walk away for good.
“You go to the gym and watch athletes training, it will get to a point where you will train but won’t have the competition,” Nogueira said. “You’re always moved by goals, competitions, but it’s time to think about the post-career, take care of other projects, think about other things. You can’t focus 100 percent in everything. We have the Team Nogueira project, my seminars and lectures. We were splitting the energy and focus, and now I’ll be able to close (my career) with a great fight.
“It’s gonna be hard, but I’m okay with it and I’m doing it the best way possible, fighting a great champion, someone I respect, someone that gave me a rivalry that forced me to train even harder. I train more when I’m fighting ‘Shogun.’ I’m excited, I know it’s going to be a great fight.”
In his last outing, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-9) was knocked out by Ryan Spann back May 2019. Before that, the 44-year-old scored a knockout victory against Sam Alvey, in September 2018.
Shogun enters the bout off a draw to Paul Craig in November of last year. Despite a 2018 knockout loss to Anthony Smith, the 38-year-old former champion has been on a surprising run of success in recent years—going 4-1-1 since a pair of KO losses in 2014.
UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till is set to take place on Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi on July 25th. The event will feature a heavyweight bout between former light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson and former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. Rua vs. Nogueira is currently scheduled for the co-main event.
About the author