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Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Bio

Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (Portuguese pronunciation:[ɐ̃ˈtoniu ʁoˈdɾiɡu noˈɡejɾɐ], born June 2, 1976), better known as Minotauro, is a semi-retired Brazilian mixed martial artist known for his technical mastery of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He won most of his fights via submissions. He competed in the heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion. He is the twin brother of UFC fighter Antônio Rogério Nogueira, who is a southpaw, while Minotauro fights in an orthodox stance. Minotauro rose to prominence in the Japanese promotion Pride Fighting Championships, where he was the first Pride Heavyweight Champion from November 2001 to March 2003, as well as a 2004 PRIDE FC Heavyweight Grand Prix Finalist. He is one of only three men to have held championship titles in both Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (the others being Mauricio Rua and Mark Coleman).

Contents

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 MMA career
    • 2.1 Rings
      • 2.1.1 Rings: King of Kings 1999
      • 2.1.2 Kohsaka fight
      • 2.1.3 Rings: King of Kings 2000
    • 2.2 Pride FC
      • 2.2.1 Early PRIDE career and heavyweight championship
        • 2.2.1.1 Bouts with Sapp, Schilt and Henderson
      • 2.2.2 Title bouts
      • 2.2.3 2004 Grand Prix
      • 2.2.4 2006 Grand Prix
    • 2.3 Ultimate Fighting Championship
      • 2.3.1 UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship
      • 2.3.2 Non-title bouts
      • 2.3.3 Losing streak and retirement
  • 3 Fighting style
  • 4 Other media
  • 5 Personal life
  • 6 Championships and achievements
    • 6.1 Mixed martial arts
    • 6.2 Submission grappling
  • 7 Mixed martial arts record
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

Early life

Born in the town of Vitória da Conquista, Brazil, Nogueira started training in judo at the age of 4, boxing at 14 and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at 18. At age 10, he was accidentally run over by a truck and fell into a four-day coma, losing a rib and part of his liver, and was hospitalized for eleven months. As a result of the accident, he has a large scar, including a noticeable indentation, on his lower back.

MMA career

Nogueira made his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in the World Extreme Fighting promotion, which often held events in southern parts of the United States. He won his first two fights by submission and then won the WEF Heavyweight Superfight Championship in his 5th pro fight against veteran Jeremy Horn. A few years after his MMA debut, Nogueira started training with the Brazilian Top Team.

Rings

Rings: King of Kings 1999

Nogueira debuted in Fighting Network Rings by taking part in the King of Kings 1999 tournament. He quickly submitted Valentijn Overeem and Yuriy Kochkine before clashing with middle-aged sambo champion Andrei Kopylov. Nogueira avoided a kimura lock attempt through the first round and controlled Kopylov for some minutes, before switching to stand-up in the second round and landing punches for the split decision win. In the next match, however, Nogueira was eliminated by American wrestling champion Dan Henderson in a controversial fight, as it was believed that the Brazilian had controlled the match much more than Henderson.

Kohsaka fight

Nogueira's next fight was against Japanese star Tsuyoshi "TK" Kohsaka. The bout was back and forth, with Nogueira repeatedly gaining dominant position and striking with short punches, only for his opponent to consistently reverse him, blocking the Brazilian's takedowns and striking as well when possible. After three rounds, the match was ruled a draw.

Rings: King of Kings 2000

At King of Kings 2000, Nogueira was invited back to Rings. He submitted Achmed Labasanov before facing another Japanese name in the form of Kiyoshi Tamura. Nogueira was able to take him down and threaten him with submissions, but the Japanese fighter kept defending them and coming back at openings. Finally, the second round saw Nogueira win using an armbar.

His third match in the tournament was against another sambo champion, Volk Han, who was almost twice Nogueira's age. Han proved difficult to submit, but Nogueira controlled most of the match. After a flying kimura attempt by the Russian, Nogueira countered with a omoplata/ankle hold combination, until the match went to the judges' decision. The unanimous decision was given to the Brazilian, who advanced to the next round to face Hiromitsu Kanehara. Noguiera won the fight by submission. His final opponent in the tournament was Valentijn Overeem. Nogueira made Overeem tap out quickly and won the King of Kings tournament.

Pride FC

Early PRIDE career and heavyweight championship

Following the end of Akira Maeda's Rings federation, Nogueira was signed by Pride Fighting Championships. He debuted in July 2001 at Pride 15, quickly submitting Gary Goodridge by triangle choke. At Pride 16, he submitted UFC and Pride Grand Prix champion Mark Coleman by triangle armbar.

Nogueira was crowned as the inaugural Pride World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Heath Herring by decision at PRIDE 17. Nogueira next defeated Enson Inoue via technical submission due to a triangle choke and then fought for Antonio Inoki's UFO organization, scoring his first MMA KO victory against Sanae Kikuta.

Bouts with Sapp, Schilt and Henderson

Nogueira then represented Pride at a co-promotion with K-1, Pride Shockwave, against the super heavyweight kickboxer and former American football player Bob Sapp, who outweighed Nogueira by 127 pounds. The fight soon became a brutal exhibition of technical skill against raw strength, as mere seconds into the match, Sapp would stop Nogueira's first takedown attempt with a sound piledriver which almost ended the fight. The same outcome repeated itself several times, with Nogueira taking several powerbombs and heavy punches every time his huge antagonist managed to power out of his submission attempts. At the end, however, Sapp's stamina started to falter, allowing a very worn out Nogueira to mount him and finally submit him with an armbar.

After defeating Sapp, Dutch kickboxing champion and former King of Pancrase Semmy Schilt was his next opponent. Nogueira scored another victory by triangle choke. He then avenged his only loss against Dan Henderson, when he armbarred him in the 3rd round after Henderson displayed great submission defense for the first two rounds.

Title bouts

Nogueira's first Pride title defense was against Russian sambo champion and Volk Han apprentice Fedor Emelianenko at Pride 25. Nogueira suffered his second career loss, a judges' decision after Emelianenko dominated the fight with his characteristic ground-and-pound through the guard. In his next fight, Nogueira won a decision against former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez. Though Rodriguez scored takedowns and maintained top position, Pride's fight-scoring was determined primarily by "effort to finish the fight by KO or submission," and Nogueira's multiple near-submission attempts won him the decision victory.

In November 2003, with heavyweight champion Emelianenko unable to fight due to injuries, Pride elected to crown an interim champion, so top contenders Nogueira and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović were matched up. Filipović dominated the first round with his superior striking and a left high kick which knocked Nogueira down in the very end of the round, but in the second round, Nogueira secured a takedown and rolled into an armbar to submit Filipović.

2004 Grand Prix

On April 25, 2004, at Pride Total Elimination 2004, the first round of the 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix was held. Nogueira faced the unbeaten professional wrestler and former judoka Hirotaka Yokoi, whom he submitted with the debut of his anaconda choke. He then repeated the move against Heath Herring in the next round to advance to the semi finals where he defeated Sergei Kharitonov to again face Fedor Emelianenko in the finals. The fight was markedly different from their first, with Nogueira able to avoid the damage he suffered from ground-and-pound in their first meeting. However, the bout was stopped when Emelianenko suffered a cut after an accidental head-butt and could not continue, resulting in a no-contest. Another rematch was required to determine the tournament champion and was scheduled for Pride Shockwave 2004 on December 31, 2004. In the rematch as in the first bout, Nogueira suffered another unanimous decision loss to Emelianenko after being dominated in the standing positions and being controlled on the ground.

At Pride Critical Countdown 2005, Nogueira defeated Polish Olympic judoka Pawel Nastula by strikes, and following this, at Pride 31 he beat professional wrestler and fighter Kiyoshi Tamura by armbar for the second time.

2006 Grand Prix

He then entered the 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix, progressing to the semi final by defeating fellow Brazilians Zuluzinho and Fabrício Werdum. In the semi final, he faced the American catch wrestler Josh Barnett and lost a split decision, as both had landed damaging blows and submission attempts without managing to secure a victory. Barnett went on to face Mirko Filipović in the finals, submitting to punches and kicks to the face. Nogueira avenged the loss to Barnett with a unanimous decision win in their rematch at Pride Shockwave 2006.

In an interview with Sherdog.com, Nogueira stated that the best moments of his career were against Bob Sapp and Mirko Filipović, both matches he won fighting in Pride.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

At UFC Fight Night 9 which took place on April 5, 2007, Nogueira was in attendance and was sitting cage side with UFC president Dana White. It was subsequently announced at UFC 69, by White, that Nogueira had joined the UFC. He was promoted initially as simply "Minotauro" Nogueira, much like the UFC's promotion of Mirko Filipović as Mirko "Cro Cop" and Quinton Jackson as "Rampage" Jackson. In June 2007, he officially left Brazilian Top Team and joined Black House.

His debut in the Octagon was a third fight with Heath Herring at UFC 73, promoted under various combinations of his name and nickname, but was officially introduced to the audience under his full name and nickname. Nogueira once again defeated Herring, via unanimous decision. During the first round, Herring landed a head kick that sent Nogueira to the canvas, in which unofficial judge Eddie Bravo thought the fight could have been stopped. Herring let Nogueira get back to his feet, and Nogueira was then able to recover and come back with a dominant decision victory.

UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship

It was announced during the UFC 79 broadcast and subsequent press conference that Nogueira would be fighting former long time UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia at UFC 81 for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. Nogueira defeated Sylvia in the third round with a guillotine choke to become the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion. During the fight Sylvia knocked Nogueira down with punches. After pulling Sylvia into his half guard in the third round, Nogueira quickly secured a sweep and attempted an armbar which he missed but immediately transitioned into a guillotine choke as Sylvia tried to regain his feet thus mounting a come from behind victory. Nogueira's coach, Amaury Bitetti, said that Nogueira had trained for the guillotine well beforehand.

Nogueira and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir were the coaches for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which premiered on September 17, 2008, on Spike TV. Both winners of The Ultimate Fighter, season 8, light heavyweight Ryan Bader and lightweight Efrain Escudero, were members of Team Nogueira. After the season concluded, coaches Nogueira and Mir met at UFC 92 for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. Mir won a one-sided fight in the second round via TKO due to punches, showing much improved striking by knocking Nogueira down twice in the first round. Herb Dean stopped the match at 1:54 of the second round. The loss marked the first time Nogueira had been stopped in his career.

Two days after the fight, Dana White revealed in an interview that “Nogueira had just gotten over a Staph infection." Nogueira himself verified this fact several months later in his own interview, stating that he had a Staph infection “20 days before the fight, [requiring] 5 days in the hospital.” When asked if this infection affected his fight, he answered: “For sure.” In addition to this significant illness, his knee was injured during training for which he had surgery in February 2009. Despite these legitimate handicaps, Nogueira offered strong praise for Frank Mir’s performance, with particular credit given to Mir’s ability to maintain “very good distance.”

Non-title bouts

The UFC next wanted to schedule Nogueira to face UFC Hall of Famer and former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture at UFC 97, but Couture had to turn down the fight due to elbow surgery in January 2009. Couture later agreed to fight Nogueira at UFC 102 in Portland, Oregon. Nogueira defeated Couture via unanimous decision. Nogueira showed much improved sharpness on his feet,and displayed his excellent chin by walking through many of Couture's strikes while still throwing punches, eventually gaining the better of the exchanges as he scored two knockdowns of Couture in the fight. Although taken down twice, Nogueira swept from guard on both occasions (after some time on his back) to gain the full mount over Couture. On the floor, Nogueira threatened with two submissions, first with a D'Arce choke and later with an arm triangle.

Nogueira was expected to face undefeated prospect Cain Velasquez on January 2, 2010, at UFC 108, but again, Nogueira caught another severe staph infection cancelling the bout. The bout instead took place on February 21, 2010, at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia. During the bout, Nogueira was out-boxed as Velasquez landed an uppercut-right hook combo that dropped Nogueira early in the first round. Velasquez followed up with five clean shots on the ground, prompting referee Herb Dean to stop the contest, in which Velasquez earned a KO victory. At the time, Nogueira had been knocked out in two of his last three fights.

Nogueira was to face Frank Mir on September 25, 2010, at UFC 119 in a rematch from the championship bout at UFC 92. Nogueira pulled out of this fight in order to undergo needed surgery on both of his hips as well as his knee and was replaced by Mirko Filipović. He stated on May 15, 2011, that he would fight at the UFC's return to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Nogueira defeated The Ultimate Fighter alumnus Brendan Schaub by knockout due to punches in the first round on August 27, 2011, at UFC 134 in his home-city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was his first fight in over 16 months (and was billed as his "return fight") and earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus. He celebrated his victory by sitting on top of the octagon fence and displaying a Brazilian national flag with Sport Club Internacional's emblem added to the center of the flag.

Nogueira faced Frank Mir in a rematch on December 10, 2011, at UFC 140. After close early exchanges and a lot of work against the cage, the two separated, and Nogueira rocked Mir with a hard overhand right, jab combo. After Mir fell to the ground, Nogueira continued with ground and pound before attempting a guillotine choke. Mir was able to get out of this and during a scramble, ended in side control and locked up a kimura. Nogueira managed to roll Mir, only to be reversed himself. Mir stepped his right leg over the face of Nogueira and cranked the kimura, causing Nogueira's right humerus to break, thus ending the fight at 3:38 of round 1.

Nogueira was expected to face Cheick Kongo on July 21, 2012, at UFC 149. However, Nogueira pulled out of the bout, citing that his arm injury had not healed enough to resume the proper training and was replaced by Shawn Jordan. Nogueira fought Dave Herman on October 13, 2012, at UFC 153. He won the bout when he submitted Herman in the second round with an armbar. The finish earned him his first Submission of the Night honors.

Losing streak and retirement

Nogueira coached opposite Fabrício Werdum on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The two met in a rematch at the conclusion of the season, on June 8, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV 10. This fight was a rematch of their first fight in PRIDE in which Nogueria won by unanimous decision back in 2006. After a back-and-forth first round, Nogueira lost via submission to an armbar in the second round.

Nogueira faced Roy Nelson on April 11, 2014, in the main event at UFC Fight Night 39. After dropping Nogueira several times with punches in the first round, Nelson finished the fight via knockout with an overhand right. On June 17, 2014, Nogueira underwent successful surgery to repair a partial ACL tear of his right knee. On February 9, 2015, it was announced Nogueira would replace Anderson Silva as a head coach on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4, after Silva was removed following his failed drug test.

In March 2015, Nogueira revealed in an interview with Combate that he had undergone stem cell therapy on his elbows, hips and knees. Nogueira said,

"They have a clinic in Kansas where they work with stem cells. What they do is they remove some cells from fat out of your back and then inject them in your joints. I did it on my elbows, my hips and knees. It stimulates cartilage growth. It's pretty cutting edge technique. I'm responding really well so far. It's been helping a lot with my pain. I'm still doing physiotherapy, which is responsible for curing my hips, but I'm now doing this to make it even stronger. I had a break between my last fight and The Ultimate Fighter shootings, so I decided to go for it."

Nogueira also confessed a desire to fight Frank Mir for a third time saying,

"In two weeks I'll be cleared to train freely again. First, I will get my body strong enough so I can train and be 100% ready to fight. I intend to fight at UFC 190 in August. I wanted to come back at the TUF finale card, but I'm afraid there won't be enough time. I'll definitely be ready in August. The UFC told me they would put me in a card in August. They didn't say which one, but I'm sure it'll be the one in Rio. I still don't have an opponent. They said there were three different guys I could be fighting, but I can't comment on that. I don't have any preferences really. I just want to come back and fight, but I would like to face Frank Mir again before the end of the year."

Nogueira in 2015.

In turn, the promotion balked at setting up a third bout with Mir. Instead, Nogueira next faced Stefan Struve at UFC 190 on August 1, 2015. He lost the fight by unanimous decision. After the fight, UFC president Dana White said he would no longer offer Nogueira fights, effectively ending his UFC career. White also indicated that he would instead offer Nogueira a position within the company. In turn, Nogueira confirmed his intention to retire.

Fighting style

Nogueira was universally known as a grappler, drawing strength from his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills. However, he also had a well-rounded set of MMA abilities, relying on outstanding boxing and a competent takedown game. He was especially famous for his affinity to fighting from the bottom, utilizing an offensive open guard with masterful skill. His trademark moves were submissions like armbars, triangle chokes and variations of both, along with more exotic techniques. His ground game was considered "on a completely different level" from the rest of the sport during his time as an MMA competitor. Nogueira was also known for his solid chin and extreme ability to take punishment, which was showcased in his fights against Bob Sapp, Fedor Emilianenko and Mirko Filipović.

Other media

From 2004 to 2005, Nogueira acted in Yomiuri TV's sitcom television series Africa no Tsume, playing the character "Nogueira." He cameoed in The Expendables along with his twin brother.

Personal life

Nogueira has one daughter and two sons. On August 23, 2011, Nogueira established a partnership with Brazilian football team Internacional to represent the club's brand in the UFC. In an interview for SporTV, Nogueira said, "I'll do my best to represent Internacional in the best possible way. Now I am 100% Internacional."

Championships and achievements

Mixed martial arts

  • Fighting Network RINGS
    • 2000 RINGS King of Kings Tournament Winner
  • PRIDE Fighting Championship
    • Pride Heavyweight Championship (One time, first)
    • Interim Pride Heavyweight Championship (One time)
    • 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix Runner-Up
    • 2006 PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix Semi-Finalist
    • Tied with Kazushi Sakuraba for the most submission wins (11) in Pride FC history
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • UFC Hall of Fame
    • Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship (One time)
    • Fight of the Night (Two times)
    • Knockout of the Night (One time)
  • World Extreme Fighting
    • WEF Heavyweight Superfight Champion (One Time)
  • Sherdog
    • Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • 2002 Fighter of the Year
  • Black Belt Magazine
    • 2002 NHB Fighter of the Year
  • Inside Fights
    • 2009 Fight of the Year - vs. Randy Couture on August 29
  • MMAFighting
    • 2003 Fight of the Year vs. Mirko Filipovic on November 9
  • FightMatrix.com
    • 2004 Most Noteworthy Match of the Year vs. Fedor Emelianenko on 31 December
    • 2003 Most Noteworthy Match of the Year vs. Fedor Emelianenko on 16 March

Submission grappling

  • ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships
    • 2000 ADCC – 99kg+: Quarter finals
  • CBJJ World Championships
    • 1999 Black Belt Absoluto: 3rd Place
    • 1997 Purple Belt Pesadissimo: 2nd place
  • CBJJ Pan-American Championships
    • 1999 Brown Belt Pesadissimo: 1st Place
    • 1999 Brown Belt Absoluto: 1st place
  • CBJJ Brazilian Championships
    • 1998 Brown Belt Pesadissimo: 1st Place
    • 1997 Purple Belt Pesadissimo: 3rd Place
    • 1996 Blue Belt Absoluto: 1st Place

Mixed martial arts record

See also

  • List of current UFC fighters
  • List of male mixed martial artists

External links

  • Official website
  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's Official MMA Record
  • "Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira". UFC.com.
  • Professional MMA record for Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata

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