Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira’s (32-6-1) manager, Ed Soares, recently spoke with MMAJunkie.com about the fighter’s recent loss, his feelings towards Cain Velasquez (8-0), and whether this recent loss means the end for the Brazilian MMA legend.
Velasquez and Nogueira met in the cage last weekend at UFC 110 in a match that carried with it strong implications towards the heavyweight title picture. American Kickboxing Academy standout Cain Velasquez needed only two minutes and some change to separate “Minotauro” from consciousness and position himself firmly into the mix for the title.
Despite the thrashing that Velasquez laid on his friend, Soares gave nothing but praise to the young fighter.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to see a guy like Cain moving up the ranks,” Soares said. “I see a lot of similarities in him and Nogueira as far as their work ethic and how humble they are. He’s a great guy, and congratulations to him. He fought a great fight and came in with a great strategy.”
Soares indicated that strategy was the missing element for “Big Nog” on fight night.
“Everyone in [Nogueira’s] camp really believed that Cain was going to shoot and ground and pound from the guard,” said Soares.
Much has been made of Nogueira’s physical decline; proposed to be a result of damage he’s endured in the ring battles he’s fought, and this knockout loss did nothing to assuage these talks. Soares is quick to defend Nogueira, saying, “What are you talking about? Six months ago, Nogueira’s back, and now he’s done again? It’s really easy to talk about these people when you’re not the one putting your ass on the line and stepping into the Octagon. Anybody that steps into the Octagon, that can happen to.”
Soares went on to reprimand those internet warriors who fuel rumors of Nogueira’s end as a fighter.
“These fans love the sport so much,” he said. “Well, they should really analyze the things that they say, because at the end of the day, these guys are human, too. I read some of the stuff that people put on the Underground and forums, and people need to realize—whether it’s Nogueira, whether it’s one of our fighters or not one of our fighters—that these people are human too and they have feelings and it’s not cool.”
Soares insists that this loss did not spell the end for “Minotauro”, that he will get back on his feet and back in the Octagon.
“He gets back on the horse and fights some more people. It could happen to anybody,” said Soares.
Nogueira’s boxing was perceived to be one of his biggest advantages against NCAA wrestling champion Cain Velasquez, but Velasquez easily beat Nogueira to the punch; finally putting him away without ever trying to take the fight to the mat. It’s hard to say whether Nogueira’s starting to show his wear or if Velasquez really is that good. With two knockouts in three of his last fights it is hard not to assume that the first of those is true but if Nogueira has proven anything over the course of his career, it is that he is not one to be counted out.