When it was announced that MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would be making his return to action after more than a year on the sidelines against Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 this weekend, many wondered if the 35-year-old had rushed his recovery.
Nogueira had undergone double hip surgery as well as a knee operation to repair his ACL while out of action and was looking at being fully ready to return to the cage this fall. Big Nog admitted in an interview today with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that, upon hearing UFC 134 would be taking place in his backyard of Rio de Janeiro, he hastened his rehab period to make an appearance in front of a hometown crowd.
“For sure I rushed my rehab because the fight was in Brazil,” said Nogueira. “I did six, seven hours of physical therapy a day. So, I had three surgeries on my ACL and both hips. I just started training four months ago. Normally I’d be right to fight in October, but the fight was in Brazil, the first fight in Brazil and it represents a lot to me. I have a team here, my whole family is here, my whole team trains over like one mile from the arena. So, I started training four months ago, but I felt really good. … No pain at all in my hips, my knee. So, I did a really good camp. I can tell you I’m really well prepared for this bout.”
Despite the truncated healing process, Nogueira told Helwani that he feels completely recovered heading into his fight against the young gun Schaub.
“I’m one hundred percent. I’m feeling good,” he said. “I can fight good over there, I’m gonna show you guys the best of Nogueira.”
UFC 134 goes down on Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com that night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.