Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has decided to end his 19-year-long MMA career. On July 25 in the co-headliner of UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till against Mauricio Rua which is set to take place at the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Nogueira will enter the Octagon for the last time. UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till is the last of the four events UFC is holding at “Fight Island” this July.
For Nogueira, making the decision to hang up his gloves wasn’t really difficult. Though he knows there will be difficulties initially, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is sure that he will adapt to not being a professional fighter anymore.
“I think the time has arrived. It’s a lot of work, several projects, the head doesn’t stop. I’ll do my things, but I’m sure I’ll adapt to not fighting anymore. It’s going to be hard [laughs], maybe I’ll have to do more yoga and meditation to get me focused on doing other things instead of thinking about fights. And I’ll be a coach, I have my team, I’ll be able to train them, so it’s okay. Maybe finding new champions will satisfy this desire or winning.”
Minotouro realizes that having to work on other projects, such as the many franchises of Team Nogueira all over Brazil, has taken a toll on his performance in the past few years, but won’t put the blame on it since he chose to have both. Four weeks away from his last fight inside the Octagon, Minotouro said that the upcoming fight against Mauricio Rua has actually inspired him to push his own limits.
You can’t focus 100 percent in everything. We have the Team Nogueira project, my seminars and lectures. We were splitting the energy and focus, and now I’ll be able to close (my career) with a great fight. It’s gonna be hard, but I’m okay with it and I’m doing it the best way possible, fighting a great champion, someone I respect, someone that gave me a rivalry that forced me to train even harder. I train more when I’m fighting ‘Shogun.’ I’m excited, I know it’s going to be a great fight.”
Over his almost two decade long career, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has fought and beaten the who's who of MMA including the likes of Alistair Overeem (twice), Dan Henderson, Tito Ortiz, and Rashad Evans. However, for all the success he's had inside the Octagon, 'Minotouro' has a bittersweet feeling about the fact that he's never held a major title in the UFC.
“Getting so close, being one of the five best in the UFC, and always being one of the three best in PRIDE, but I think I’ve done great things. Great fights. It was a great career. It’s been a great career.”