It’s strange to suggest that the only fighter to ever hold a Pride and UFC heavyweight title at the same time only 18 months ago is over the hill. That’s the predicament that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira found himself in at UFC 102 against Randy Couture. That was just the motivation Nogueira needed though. “I worked a lot, I worked the most than I ever did in my life for this fight,” Nogueira said following the fight.
The outcome was never in doubt after the third round came to an end on Saturday night.
Couture himself admitted as much saying, “I didn’t think I won the decision. I’m pretty rational about the performance, I thought he won all three rounds. I mean he knocked me on my keester in at least two of the rounds and he had mount a couple times. He definitely won the fight.”
Regardless of how professional a fighter may be, it’s rare that you have a top-flight fighter admitting that not only did he lose the fight, but that he didn’t even win a round.
Nogueira also pointed to people calling him old as another motivating factor to prove that his TKO loss to Frank Mir at UFC 92 was a fluke.
“For most of the people who say that you don’t (have anything left), you can come back and (prove) that you’re still in the game and make a good fight. That’s what I did (tonight),” Nogueira told the media at the UFC 102 post-fight press conference.