Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made his debut in the Brazilian version of “Dancing with the Stars” -- known as Danca dos Famosos, or “Dance of the Famous” -- on Sunday.
The program was broadcast on the popular Rede Globo TV show Domingão do Faustão. Although he hasn't shown much "swaying," the former Pride and UFC champion showed great will and surprised viewers and judges alike in qualifying for the next round.
“Minotauro” competed against six other males in the opening phase. In the second round, Nogueira will attempt to impress the judges while dancing with a female partner. The fighter admitted to battling nerves shortly after his first dance concluded.
"It's much harder than fighting. When I get home I'm all broken," Nogueira said.
Nogueira is scheduled to face Frenchman Cheick Kongo at UFC 149 on July 21 in Calgary. The Brazilian has not fought since December, when his arm was broken by a brutal kimura from Frank Mir at UFC 140.
Nogueira recently told PVT that he has been able to balance evening MMA training and morning dance classes without issue.
"My priority is my workout. Certainly I have to train for this program once or twice a week,” he said. “I train to fight five hours a day, then I have 19 hours left over for me to rest, sleep and do other activities. I have hobbies like kite surfing and going to the beach with my dog, so I have to cut something out to train and participate in the [Dancing with the Stars] program.”
Leonardo Fabri contributed to this report