Two Q&A’s with Rogerio Nogueira

Rogerio Nogueira

By Chris Harding and Gleidson Venga Feb 1, 2008
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) spent the first part of 2007 dedicating himself to training boxing for the Pan-American Games. The Brazilian did well, capturing the bronze medal and losing only to the champion of his weight class.

Now his focus is back on MMA, and he will face Todd Gouwenberg (Pictures) on Friday in Canada at Hardcore Championship Fighting. In two interviews with Sherdog.com, the first in Brazil with Gleidson Venga and the second the day before he fights in Canada, "Minotoro" discusses his return.

Gleidson Venga: You haven't fought MMA since February because you were dedicating yourself to amateur boxing. What are your expectations for your return?
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures): My expectations are the best. I've been away from MMA for one year because I was focusing on amateur boxing, and after that I was waiting for an opportunity to come back. I trained a lot and I hope to start this year on the right foot. I improved a lot and I'll be back more aggressive.

Venga: Do you think that this time away can harm your conditioning, rhythm or anything like that?
Nogueira: I think that because I've been training all of this time, including boxing competitions, I'm in rhythm. I believe I'll be back very well, with my cardio and techniques sharper. The boxing training helped me a lot; it gave me a lot of confidence on my feet. This experience I had was very good for me because I fought against the best guys in the world. It gave me a lot of confidence and added a lot to my game.

Venga: How was your training for this match at the HCF?
Nogueira: I trained hard. Our team is very united, everybody helping everybody. Everyone has a fight scheduled, so we all helped our teammates. Even the guys who won't fight for now come to the gym everyday to train. That's why I must thank my teammates and coaches also. We joined together a very united team and we are very excited about our all-new training facility. For sure our team will make a lot of noise.

Venga: Talking about your new team, how are the training sessions over there? Who is with you?
Nogueira: There are a lot of good people along with us. Anderson Silva helped us in our training, Vitor Belfort (Pictures), a lot of new talented fighters who will shine very soon. There are a lot of surprises coming. Plus we have fighters who have been with us since the beginning, great coaches also. The best possible.

Venga: About the HCF, do you know your opponent? What have you seen about him?
Nogueira: He is a tough guy who walks into the fight. He likes to strike on his feet and is very aggressive. But we will see how he will react in the fight when I take him down. I'll try to impose my rhythm on the ground. I think this will make the difference, and my striking skills are very good.

Venga: What do you think about the Canadians investing in this sport? Do you believe MMA will be successful there?
Nogueira: They are excited. MMA is growing a lot in Canada. I was searching for my opponent's fight on the Internet and I saw the advertisements for this event. They are investing a lot on the sport there. This will be my debut in Canada, and for sure I want to fight well to take my place on the stage there.

Venga: Tell us about your plans for 2008?
Nogueira: I have a three-fight contract. I want to fulfill it soon and decide if I'll sign a new contract or if I'll fight for another organization. Now I'm in the HCF, and everything I can do to help them grow, I'll do. I'll give my best not only to win my fights, but to help MMA be known in Canada, to help them spread the sport. I'll give my best to fight well and for people to know my name in Canada. I want to be back soon among the top in my weight class.

Venga: And what are your expectations for your brother, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures), fighting for the UFC's heavyweight title one day after your fight in Canada?
Nogueira: I'm very anxious. Rodrigo is well trained, very strong. He trained his cardio a lot, is sharp on takedowns, striking and BJJ. He is 100 percent. This will be one of the most important fights in his career. He knows how important this match is. Rodrigo is a serious guy and he has trained over three months for this match. I'm sure he will show a great performance and capture this title. We both are very focused to win, to please everybody who supports our job
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