Former interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has made his retirement official, joining the promotion as an Athlete Relations Ambassador for UFC Brazil moving forward.
The announcement was made in a press release on Tuesday.
“‘Big Nog’ is a legend in the sport of MMA,” UFC president Dana White said. “He is respected by fighters and fans worldwide. It has been an honor to watch him compete and I’m happy to see him retire. He will be a huge asset to the UFC, the athletes and the sport as an ambassador. I look forward to working with him in this new chapter of his life.”
The 39-year-old Nogueira completes his pro career with a record of 34-10-1 with one no-contest. He dropped his last three fights to Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and current UFC champion Fabricio Werdum.
During his illustrious career, Nogueira scored wins over Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Werdum, Mirko Cro Cop and Dan Henderson, while also fighting Fedor Emelianenko a number of times.
Along with his interim UFC title, he was also a Pride heavyweight champion, Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix runner-up and winner of numerous submission grappling championships.
“It’s a great pleasure and an honor for me to further my ties with the UFC. I’ve always had a passion to follow the development of new athletes and that’s what I intend to continue doing,” he said. “I want to help further the spread of MMA around the world and give my contribution to the emergence and development of young talent. I appreciate all the confidence that Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta have in me, and I believe we will reach big results together. I know that I can, and will, contribute much to the growth of our sport outside of the Octagon.”
Nogueira will provide services for a number of initiatives in the Brazil region, while also serving as a liaison for the organization between athletes, sponsors, media and government bodies. His role will also allow him to mentor young athletes and assist in identifying talent in Brazil as he has done throughout his career with his twin brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, under their gym banner.