After Shocking Schaub at UFC 134, Nogueira Teases Return to Japan

By Mike Whitman Aug 27, 2011
According to the bookmakers, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was supposed to lose to Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 on Saturday night.

Instead, the 35-year-old veteran turned back the clock, knocking out Schaub with a devastating flurry of punches in the first frame. However, the victory did not come easily. While Nogueira (Pictured, file photo) eventually found his range and dropped his younger foe, it was Schaub who looked confident early on, peppering the Brazilian with superior speed while moving nimbly around the Octagon.

“The fight was tough. He [threw] a lot of [hard shots],” Nogueira told UFC.com following his win. “We traded some punches and I tried to take him down, but he was tough. He defended the single-leg and clinched and put me in the cage.”

Though only a few minutes had passed since the fight began, Schaub appeared to have too much for Nogueira, as was the case five months ago when the American knocked out another Pride Fighting Championships veteran, Mirko Filipovic, at UFC 128.

However, the result at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro would be quite a different one. Nogueira continued to wade forward, eating stiff jabs before finally connecting with the shot for which he had been looking.

Schaub wobbled after eating the powerful right hand, and the veteran did not hesitate to finish the job, landing a devastating hook inside that buckled “The Hybrid” against the cage. As Schaub fell face-down on the canvas, nearly limp, Nogueira continued to blast him with punches until the referee intervened. The victory marked the 12-year-pro’s first bout contested on his home soil.

“I was saving the right hand for him. I trained that a lot. We traded some punches, and I felt his punches coming,” said an elated Nogueira. “I did it. I knocked him out in Brazil. It was my first fight in Brazil, my [41st] fight. My training made me strong.”

The win marked Nogueira’s first Octagon appearance in 18 months, during which the former champion underwent both knee and hip surgeries. According to Nogueira, it was a struggle to be ready for his bout with Schaub due to the length and intensiveness of his recovery.

“I just had a surgery in my hip eight months ago. I was walking on crutches four months ago,” said Nogueira. “I want Dana White to know I’m back.”

While the former Pride heavyweight king would not elaborate on whom he would next like to face in the cage, the fighter did hint that he could return soon to the country in which he first became a star. With the UFC rumored to return to Japan in February, fans could see “Minotauro” return to The Land of the Rising Sun as he battles to reestablish his presence among the UFC’s best heavyweights.

“I want to help my friends right now. I want to help Rafael [Cavalcante], who fights Sept. 10. And I want to help Junior dos Santos win the world title,” said Nogueira. “I’m not thinking about my next fight, but for sure I will be ready. If they have a fight in the U.S., I will be ready. When they have a fight in February in Japan, I will be ready to fight over there.”

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