Just last week Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira explained to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that he wanted to face either Brock Lesnar or Frank Mir in his next fight, preferably in Canada or Japan.
Though Lesnar was today confirmed for a blockbuster bout against Alistair Overeem this December, precluding a match up between he and Big Nog, Minotauro might still get his wish to at least compete in the Land of the Rising Sun. It was also announced today that the UFC would be returning to Japan for the first time in well over a decade, to the very arena where Nogueira made his bones under the Pride banner: the Saitama Super Arena.
The card will take place on February 26 of next year and Nogueira is itching to perform in front of the same fans who embraced him during Pride’s heyday, telling Sherdog.com fighting again in Japan will mean as much to him as it did to fight in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
“Even if they call me to fight on the same day as Cigano, I will! I’m working on his camp and, for sure, I’ll be ready. But, I absolutely want to take part in the card in Japan,” said Nogueira. “I dream of fighting there. As much as I loved fighting in Brazil, I love to fight in Japan.”
Nogueira most recently appeared in action delivering a career-salvaging performance in front of an amped up Brazilian crowd at UFC 134. The 35-year-old took on young gun Brendan Schaub after spending over a year out of action rehabbing double hip and knee surgeries which he underwent and knocked out the heavy handed prospect within the opening frame.
Oh, and Frank Mir is currently without an opponent, so maybe the UFC throws Big Nog a bone and puts together a fight over which Japanese fight fans would no doubt get excited.