Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the best MMA heavyweights of all time. He's won both Pride and UFC world titles and earned some of the most dramatic come-from-behind victories in the sport's history.
However, "Minotauro" has clearly stayed in for far too long and sustained horrible damage to his body and mind. going back to late 2008, Nogueira is just 3-5 in his last eight fights. The Brazilian was once seemingly impossible to finish but he's been stopped in all of those last five losses.
His last loss - a first round KO at the hands of Roy Nelson las April - was one of his ugliest and most one-sided. However, Nogueira seems to be hanging on to the hope that he can still fight well and relatively safely against the best in the world.
"I still have what it takes. I will return next year," Nogueira said in a recent interview with Guilherme Cruz.
"I have plans to be in shape and fight again, for sure. I want to recover first, and then I will see how I feel."
Nogueira said that he blew out an ACL in his knee in the days leading up to the Nelson fight. It would seem that he's blaming that injury for the loss and so also believes that once he heals up from that injury, he will be back to form.
"I had surgery four weeks ago, and I’m doing fine now," Nogueira said.
"ACL surgery takes at least five months to return to fighting. I’m doing physical therapy now. I know the limits of my body. I won’t get myself injured again. I can do other things. I ride bikes and work out every day, but I can’t train yet."