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Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. the UFC, Part III

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Who should Big Nog take on next?
The winner of Brock Lesnar-Shane Carwin. 13 32%
Frank Mir. 17 41%
Somebody else. 11 27%
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AchillesHeel

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It's been a year-and-a-half since my last examination of the former PRIDE FC Heavyweight champion, and the playpen that was the UFC's Heavyweight division has turned into something of a shark tank.



After escorting Tim "I hate jiu-jitsu" Sylvia to the door, Nogueira put his keen mind, amiable demeanor, and improved English on display as a coach for season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. In the end, three out of four finalists emerged from Team Nogueira, with Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero taking home both titles.

When he lost to Frank Mir, his first career loss by TKO, I was among the folks wondering if a career spent getting hit in the head had finally caught up with the big guy. Even when Nogueira wins, he can get clobbered (see his fights against Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and Heath Herring for examples), and his losses have been punishing, 20-minute Decisions. After 10 years and 37 professional fights, Minotauro appeared to have finally met his Theseus, and I wouldn't have blamed him if he'd decided he had nothing left to prove, and strode off into the sunset.

But I couldn't help feeling as though something was amiss while I was watching that fight. I don't want to seem to be taking anything away from Mir here. I was happy to see Frank climbing back into the top drawer, and it was clear that his boxing was improved and his game plan solid. Nevertheless, Nogueira didn't look himself. Of course we learned later that he was stricken with a pretty bad staph infection that impacted his preparations before the fight and took the wind out of his sails during it. 20 days before the "interim" title fight, Nogueira reportedly was hospitalized for almost a week.

Never shy about letting their top dogs have a go at each other, Dana White and Joe Silva helped Nogueira jump right back into the deep end of the swimming pool, and set up the match I'd been waiting for, lo these long months: Randy "The Natural" Couture. Two of the smartest and toughest SOBs a chain-link fence had ever met were finally going to get to grips. The grit of American wrestling would be pitted against the guile of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, both backed up by solid boxing and some of the biggest cojones on the block. And both men are leaders of some of the finest minds in the sport, to boot - the fighters and coaches of Extreme Couture and Team Nogueira/Casa Preta. Originally scheduled for UFC 97 - Couture had to postpone due to an injury - battle was finally joined at UFC 102.

So naturally, I missed it.



By all accounts, the fight was a clinic, a 15-minute Gettysburg hailed as a Fight of the Year candidate almost from the moment the final horn sounded. Punching power notwithstanding, some argue that Nogueira proved to be a bigger handful for Couture than Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar was, getting top position on the ground more than once.

Nogueira has said that he wants to face either Brock Lesnar or Frank Mir next, although if Carwin wins the belt from Lesnar, I imagine you can add his name to Nog's short list. With his poor showing in the rematch against Lesnar and the news of Nogueira's staph infection taking some of the shine off his victory, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Mir accept a rematch, especially if it put the winner in line for a title shot in 2010.

As mentioned earlier, though, the UFC's Heavyweight division isn't quite the tiptoe through the daisies that it was a couple of years ago. Shane Carwin clubbed Gabriel Gonzaga, Junior dos Santos hosted Mirko Cro-Cop's retirement party, and Cain Velasquez reminded Cheick Kongo that this ain't kick-boxing. The Ultimate Fighter 10 features a handful of promising candidates, some of whom make Roy "Big Country" Nelson look petite; "Big Ben" Rothwell is about to step into Cain Velasquez; there are rumors that Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva may try to squeeze through the Octagon door; and a distinctly Russian silhouette can be seen lurking in the background all the while.

To paraphrase the (supposed) ancient Chinese curse, "Big Nog" finds himself living in very interesting times, indeed.



Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. the UFC.
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. the UFC, Part II.

Last edited 9/26/09 12:29PM server time by AchillesHeel
Edit note/reason: n/a

Post #1   9/26/09 12:27:49PM   

DJBlankenship

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damn you should write for a magazine lol

Post #2   9/26/09 7:32:29PM   

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I think he should take on the Winner of the Heavyweight Belt, he proved himself so much against Randy that he deserves a title shot, but I still belive he would lose to Mir. There are not many other logical fights. He should only Fight in high profile main events so he shouldn't fight for anything besides the title. Frank Mir already proved himself against Minotouro and lost to Brock. I would love to see what Big Nog could do against Brock.

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Post #3   9/26/09 10:25:39PM   

bjj1605

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Big Nog against Brock for sure. There are only so many people that are believable as a threat to Brock and giving nog a fight he could potentially loose would knock him off as one of those options. I say he gets the winner of Brock vs Carwin.

Post #4   9/26/09 11:58:10PM   

Sinister

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Though I dont know how exciting it would be, I say Nog v. Lesnar. You can't really give him lower names and Mir is busy right now with Kongo.

Post #5   9/27/09 12:33:47AM   

Sinister

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Also, people who don't prop Achilles post is ignorant.

Post #6   9/27/09 12:39:45AM   

george112

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Posted by Sinister

Also, people who don't prop Achilles post is ignorant.



in the comment box when i propped i said

"perfect post. OG PROP"

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Post #7   9/27/09 1:47:42AM   

AchillesHeel

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I had voted for a rematch with Mir, but the point about knocking off an obvious contender is a good one. Letting Nog take on the winner of Lesnar-Carwin (and I'm not sure who I'd prefer to see) and then hope for Mir to earn a title shot might be the better plan. Rematches might be inevitable anyway. And thanks for the kind words.

Post #8   9/27/09 9:24:17AM   

prozacnation1978

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i think new cumers like cain and junior should get first crack first,
a win against a 45 year old man doesn't say a thing, one win and back to a title were the days of old only when their is no one else at the moment like say gsp
they have no contenders at all either sacrifice swick or give fitch another shot if he beats almeida

but in heavy their are alot of guys out there, i think big nog needs one more fight best guy available out there with no fights right now would be a gabe gonzaga

Post #9   9/27/09 11:30:21AM   

BustedKnuckle

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Nog needs one more win under his belt before stepping back into a title fight. He gave Randy the beatdown of a lifetime,but needs to build that CHAMPIONSHIP MENTALITY. I would love to see Cain V or Dos Santos fight him for number 1 contender.

Post #10   9/29/09 6:14:30PM   

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I would love to see Kongo pull out and Big Nog to come in and avenge that loss from last year. I definitely believe it was the sickness now, He was so much slower in that Frank fight. But he dealt with randy real well, one of the fastest heavyweights out their and tooled him. I definitely think he'd have a war but finish off Frank Mir in a rematch. Mir's just a great fight for him. I'd love to see him fight a healthy Nog, think it'd be a real War.

But definitely would love the other option of fighting the Carwin/Lesnar winner. It'd really be the final test for me to see if Brocks really one of the great UFC champs. Randy was just old, and not as strong, and Brocks just as fast so Randy really had nothing but praying a good gameplan would work, and Carwins untested. Mir was a good fight but really isn't tough enough to really test Lesnar. I mean yeah he tested Brocks inexperience after Brock was destroying him in the 1st fight, but if Brock did the same thing now to him, he finishes that fight with no rookie mistake. I think Nog is the ultimate test especially if Brock wants to go toe to toe with Fedor. A healthy Nog is the man the to go through to get to Fedor.

Post #11   9/29/09 10:10:37PM   

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Posted by Sinister

Also, people who don't prop Achilles post is ignorant.



You can't say that buddy, what if people disagree with him? I wouldn't prop somebody I disagree with. btw I did prop him. Just saying you can't say these things.

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Post #12   9/29/09 10:14:39PM   

HumanTarget

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I want Nogueira to smash Mir's head in. Talkin' **** about a legend. I won't have it.

You can't honestly tell me that the staph infection that Nog was recovering from hindered his performance.

Post #13   9/30/09 4:49:23PM   

emfleek

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I'm confused after the post above me.

But great write-up, Achilles.

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Post #14   9/30/09 4:52:54PM   

mshalosky

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a win against a 45 year old man doesn't say a thing, one win and back to a title were the days of old only when their is no one else at the moment like say gsp


I disagree he completely dominated a what 5 time ufc champion. I agree most guys are washed up at 45 but i count it as a valid win. He has also proven himself time and time again so he probably deserves the shot.

Post #15   9/30/09 11:34:48PM