MMA legend and former UFC heavyweight champion Antonio “Minotauro” Rodrigo Nogueira has officially retired from active competition. Nogueira made the announcement at a UFC press conference that was held in his native Brazil on Tuesday.
Nogueira will end his career with a 34-10 record and had only one win in his last five bouts. It was this recent string of struggles that lead many to wonder when the former PRIDE champion would call it quits. After his most recent loss to Stefan Struve at UFC 190, president Dana White said that he would sit and talk with Nogueira about his options.
“Big Nog” started his professional career in 1999 but it was not until he entered Japan’s PRIDE Fight Championship organization in 2001 did his legend begin to form. Nogueira would go on to win 18 times while in PRIDE with wins over such notable fighters as Mark Coleman, Heath Herring, Bob Sapp, Mirko “Cro Cop”, and Fabricio Werdum. His only loses in PRIDE came to Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett. His battles with Fedor help spread the popularity of the organizations here in the United States.
After PRIDE was bought out and folded but the Luffa, Nogueira made his debut for the UFC in 2007. While he would go on to defeat Tim Sylvia to become the UFC heavyweight champion, Nogueira could never establish a dominate run like he did in PRIDE. His longest win streak in the UFC was two. He would alternate wins and losses before finally losing his final three bouts before his retirement.
Though he is retiring from fighting, Big Nog’ will still be involved in the sport of MMA. He has accepted a position with the UFC as an ambassador for fighters and fans. He is expected to begin his new position immediately. He will go down in MMA history as one of the true great heavyweights and one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners the sport has ever seen.