On 20 February in Sydney, Australia, Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira will see professional MMA action for his 40th time. One of the greatest fighters of any weight class in the sport, Minotauro have across the octagon from him Cain Velasquez who, besides being undefeated (seven wins), comes in with the desire of someone who wants to be remembered in the sport. In putting on a good fight, Nogueira believes the difference may be just his greater experience.
“I’m still in the game, training like never before. I’ve been fighting for 11 years and have great passion for what I do,” he says.
“I have much more experience than he does. I’ll certainly use it in the cage. He’s hungry. I’m hungry, too. So I will use what you all have already seen. I have more experience in Jiu-Jitsu, my boxing is really good, too, and I believe the fight will raise my stock,” he added.
The fighters continues to train in the United States, either at Black House headquarters or at the Nike Academy, where he does his physical conditioning work with some of the biggest stars of American football.
“I’m improving a lot. I feel very motivated. I’ve got a top-notch physical conditioning coach and I’m better at everything now,” he warns.
On the monolith ahead of him in Sydney, the Ricardo De La Riva black belt knows that must be careful.
“He’s a top wrestler, has good single-leg and double-leg takedowns and a smooth transition to the ground. He moves around a lot and is in good shape. I think he’s using the same style in MMA as he’s using in wrestling. He just goes and goes and goes,” he says in analysis.
“There aren’t a lot of heavyweights who can keep up with him. He moves like a light heavyweight. Velasquez is not a good finisher on the ground, but positions himself in such a way that he can punish and control his opponent. That’s what makes him good,” Minotauro is quoted as saying on the official UFC website.
One of the most remarkable fights in Minotauro’s career came at Pride Shockwave 2002, when he faced the gigantic Bob Sapp at the peak of his brute strength. Check out the highlights below: