A shadow of doubt had been cast over former Pride Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira after losing two of three and looking less than impressive in the outtings. Couple those fights with surgeries and rehab outside of the cage and many believed it could be the end of the line of Big Nog.
At UFC 134 he was set to face Brendan Schaub in a bout that could have propelled the former NFLer into the upper echelon of UFC Heavyweights. Nogueira had other plans, knocking Schaub out and taking home a smooth 100K knockout of the night bonus in his home country of Brazil.
Post fight he talked about his return:
"I_m back, you know? When I feel like some guys ask me in the interviews before the fight I was the underdog, I told you I like to be the underdog. When people don_t believe in me, my energy comes inside. So I_m back. ... The fight was really tough. He threw me some good hands. At moments in the fight, I felt his uppercuts. But I believe in myself, I know I could change and I_m back. I_m feeling good and now I feel I can put my skills on. I_ve gotta improve a little bit more of my wrestling (but) I_m back."
He also talked about people suggestions that he hang up the gloves:
"Of course (I never considered retirement). People, I made a tremendous effort to overcome â€“ to come back to fighting, to come back to fight in Brazil â€“ so I would not look at this fight as my test. I had three surgeries; I_m only human. I was on crutches. I have callouses on my hands because I spent five months on crutches. Three-and-a-half months ago, I got rid of the crutches and started training. Many people didn_t believe in me. I think the Brazilian people should believe in me more."
And how special it was to fight in front of Brazil:
"I hate to admit it, but when I was walking to the ring, I was super nervous. I was so nervous that I couldn_t really look up to the crowd. It was only after I finished the fight that I actually looked up to the crowd and realized and saw just how much noise was being made."
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