(Nogueira takes ice baths to quell hip pain and to treat his hypergonadism.)
Many fans of Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira were disappointed by the spotty showing of former PRIDE star when he made the transition to the UFC. Some hypothesized that he was slower as a result of the accumulative damage the scores of punches and kicks his head has absorbed over the years, while others assumed he had lost a step due to age.
According to Nogueira, who by the way is only 34, the reason he hasn’t performed to the potential he demonstrated in Japan is that he has been secretly battling a pair of nagging injuries for the past four years.
“This is an injury I have had for about four years. For the past two years it has been bothering me a lot. I have been training for all the last fights I had, and it was very painful. My last 3 fights were very painful. To tell you the truth, when I was training in 2005, I felt it a little bit in my hip but it wasn’t that much. 2006 it hurt me. When I trained for the Couture fight it hurt me so bad, then this year it was impossible for training," Nogueira explained during a recent interview with SanDiegoMMA.net. "After Anderson Silva’s fight when he fought Chael [Sonnen], I was there in the group and from there I had training the next day and I couldn’t walk, so I went to Colorado [to see a doctor]. My physical trainer told me [the doctor in Colorado] was the best hip doctor in the world, Dr. Philippon. He took a look at me and said ‘you can’t fight. You are 40% on your performance.’”
Unless he wanted to continue to fight "handicapped" Noguiera knew that the only option would be to have his bum hips operated on. He says the first operation in December was a success.
“I had arthroscopy in my hip, just to clean it up. I had some extra bone, a piece of bone, inside the joint so they just cleaned it up," he explains. "They tried to fix the cartilage inside the hip to put everything in place. The hardest part is that I got to be out about six weeks on crutches.It is in both sides. I did one, I still have to do another one. Another surgery. End of January. The doctor told me you should do one then wait about 2 months, then do the other side.”
Instead of waiting for two months, "Big Nog" moved his second surgery up two weeks after he heard about the ufC’s planned show in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in August — a card he says he definitely wants to fight on.
“That’s my goal. I even want to fight before that, but to fight in Brazil – that would be awesome. That’s my goal," Nogueira says. "That is why I tried to do both surgeries close together.
When asked if he had a specific opponent in mind for the card being planned for his South American homeland, "Minotauro," didn’t hesitate when answering.
“If they give me Brock I would be ready to fight him.”