Brazilian heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira has parlayed the experience he has garnered on his way to becoming one of the most well-established MMA veterans in the game into training MMA luminaries like Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos.
Though he himself has been recovering from knee and hip surgery since last September, Nogueira has been preparing both of those fighters for upcoming bouts; Silva will defend his belt against Vitor Belfort in early February, and dos Santos will fight Brock Lesnar after they coach The Ultimate Fighter 13.
dos Santos was originally scheduled to face the last man to have defeated Nogueira, current champion Cain Velasquez, but that bout was called off after Velasquez pulled out with a shoulder injury. Nogueira has been helping dos Santos prepare throughout his opponent change and recently spoke with Portal do Vale Tudo (props to Bloody Elbow) about the adjustments they have made in camp as a result.
“As for Lesnar, he doesn’t kick, so ‘Cigano’ will not need to train too much defensive Muay Thai, as he was training for Cain, he can now rely more on training offensive Muay Thai,” said Nogueira. “And this is the type of fight where he’ll look for the KO, train a lot of wrestling, train the guard because he could end up falling underneath (Lesnar), even though Lesnar’s [ground and pound] is not as good as Cain’s. But (Cigano) will look for the KO in this fight.”
Lesnar and dos Santos are expected to square off at UFC 131 this June, while Nogueira is looking to return to action this summer, possibly at UFC: Rio in Brazil.