Nogueira: 'Ready for Everything'

By Marcelo Alonso Dec 21, 2008
Less than a week stands between interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and his title defense against Frank Mir at UFC 92 “The Ultimate 2008” on Dec. 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The two men spent six weeks coaching against one another on season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. Now they prepare to meet inside the Octagon to determine who will face Brock Lesnar for the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship sometime in 2009.

Nogueira (31-4-1), who has never been finished in 36 professional bouts, believes his training camp has gone according to plan.

“I’m getting in good shape,” he told in an exclusive video interview. “I’ve been training very hard. My game on the ground is very tight, my muay Thai’s getting better, [and] my boxing’s good, too.”

One of the most decorated heavyweights in mixed martial arts history, Nogueira will carry a three-fight winning streak into his showdown with Mir. The 31-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has not competed since February, when he submitted two-time heavyweight titleholder Tim Sylvia with a guillotine choke to capture the interim belt at UFC 81. Outside of Fedor Emelianenko, Nogueira has defeated every man he has faced in his storied, decade-long career, having avenged losses to both Dan Henderson and Josh Barnett.

Mir (11-3), meanwhile, has won back-to-back fights since his brutal loss to Brandon Vera at UFC 65. He welcomed Lesnar to the Octagon in February, as he weathered an early barrage from the monstrous former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar and submitted him with a first-round kneebar.

“I’ve got to pretty much be ready for everything … use my muay Thai, my ground, my wrestling,” Nogueira said.

Check out Marcelo Alonso’s full interview and see Nogueira profess his hope to finish Mir and discuss training alongside Vitor Belfort, Junior dos Santos and his twin brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, in Brazil.
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