With a 31-5-1 professional mark, there isn’t much that former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hasn’t seen. The Brazilian looks to bounce back from a disappointing showing in his last Octagon outing against Frank Mir at UFC 92.
“I got my A-game for [Randy Couture],” Nogueira said of his UFC 102 foe.
This scrap has been a long time coming as both icons once ruled the organizations they represented. Although most UFC fans weren’t privy to Big Nog’s MMA game until his appearance as coach on the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” he is one of the most dominant fighters Japan has ever showcased.
“He’s a legend of the sport and I’m a legend in Japan, so we gonna face each other,” Nog stated. “It’s gonna be an awesome match, everyone expecting to see that match for a couple years. I was supposed to fight him since 2001 where we fought at same tournament in Japan, but that fight never happened so it’s gonna happen in 2009.”
And what does he expect to happen once the cage door closes behind them this weekend inside the the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon?
“He’s a very expert and tactical fighter, will try to take me down and work on the ground and pound. I think he’s gonna believe in his striking, but my striking is better,” Nogueira said of Couture’s probable game plan. “I’m doing a lot of boxing. He’s an athlete. In the stand up, we’ll have a lot of things to show. I think it’s gonna be a great fight.”
UFC 102 takes place live from Portland, Oregon’s Rose Garden this Saturday, August 29th.