There was a time, not too long ago, when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was considered indestructible. Beatable maybe, but finishable? Please. What was Fedor or Cro Cop or Werdum going to do to Big Nog that a Mac truck hadn’t already done? You could drop an anvil on this guy’s face, an anvil I tells ya, and his jaw would split the sumbitch in half like a coconut.
Lately, however, Nogueira has looked something less than invincible in the octagon. He’s looked slow, tired, vulnerable. That he’s been finished in all five of his past losses (alongside which he has earned just three wins) further points to his ever-deteriorating skillset, with his most recent knockout loss to Roy Nelson being a particularly tough pill to swallow. Or even look at. Yet he forges ahead, despite near constant protests by fans, media members, and most likely his family to call it quits.
I know, you’ve heard this all before — hell, I’ve probably lamented Nog’s stubbornness a couple dozen times by now. But today brings good news, Potato Nation! In an interview with Ag.Fight (via MMAFighting), “Minotauro” finally discussed his retirement! Hallelujer!!
And the best news is…it’s not happening as soon it should, actually:
I know I won’t fight forever. I’m focused on my gym’s business now. It’s a beautiful work, we have 9,000 students, 32 gyms. … I plan to end my career by the end of the next year, I believe. One more year. It’s until the point my body can handle.
So many injuries, I’m dedicating to other things now. I will decide when the time comes. I have two more fights in my contract, and then I’ll stop (fighting).
Well, I guess that’s the best we’re gonna get.
While Nogueira’s decision to fulfill his contract is an honorable one — in that old timey, “go down with the ship” sense of the term — I can’t help but think that the string of injuries he is currently dealing with might tie in with the whole “point my body can handle” thing he was talking about. Then again, he’s only 38 years old, and if Gray Maynard is just “a young kid” at 35 (according to Dana White), maybe Nogueira still has some good years left in him just waiting to get out!
You know what, fuck it. I’m back on Team Big Nog, baby! I say wait ’till he heals up and pair him against Alistair Overeem! YOU HEAR THAT, REEM? YOUR DAY OF RECKONING FOR HURTING JON JONES IS COMING!!! YEE HAW!!!!