Brazilian MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has not appeared in action since February 2010, when he lost via first round KO to current UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.
Nogueira has been out of action for so long due to undergoing surgery on both of his hips as well as on one of his knees; the recovery process has been long and is ongoing, but Nogueira’s boxing coach, Luis Dorea, recently told Tatame.com (props to FightersOnly.com) that “Minotauro” is looking to fight at UFC: Rio this summer, provided he has recovered completely from all of his surgeries.
“Regarding Rodrigo, he has been training very well. He’s doing rehab, seeing positioning, but the first step is his condition, his health,” Dorea told Tatame. “He is okay to train, there is no problem. The problem is not the fight, is the training. The workout is so hard and he does it twice, three times a day, so he has to be 100 per cent fine to give the best in the preparation and doesn’t feel anything bad. Being okay, all the team will support him.”
Though “Big Nog” has expressed interest in taking on young gun Brendan Schaub, Dorea believes that Nogueira’s fellow Pride FC veteran, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic would make for a better adversary in his comeback fight — but that he will only allow his charge to accept the bout if he is fully healed and recovered.
“I would like so much to see a bout between Nogueira and ‘Cro Cop.’ If it is not in August, it could be in September, October… But it is definitely the one I would like to watch,” said Dorea. “I saw ‘Cro Cop’ say he wanted to fight him. They’re two legends, two names… It really would be very interesting for the MMA world.
“Regarding the date, for me in August only if he is 100 per cent,” he went on. “Rodrigo has a big heart, desire, rage, has already fought without being 100 per cent for his fans, for the commitment and the own respect for UFC. He comes hurt and fight.”