Antonio Rogerio Nogueira's back injury is healing up nicely since it forced him out of UFC 161 last June. And when the scrappy Brazilian returns to the Octagon later this year, he still wants to finish his business against Mauricio Rua.
Chael Sonnen was named as the replacement for "Lil Nog" for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, event; however, visa issues grounded "American Gangster" and the fight was subsequently moved to the headlining spot of UFC Fight Night 26, which takes place this weekend (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) at TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
And while Nogueira may have missed out on his chance to avenge his loss to "Shogun" in 2005, he still has his sights set on his fellow countryman once Rua gets through Sonnen in "Beantown" Saturday night on FOX Sports 1 network.
And what if the "marketing" genius, Sonnen, comes out on top? "Lil Nog" has no interest, saying there are plenty of other better fighters to face than a man who has marketed himself as a great fighter, but really isn't.
MMAFighting.com has the word:
"That fight (Sonnen) doesn't interest me because I want to fight the best, and there are a lot of fighters that are better than him, including Shogun, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. Chael talks trash, he's pure marketing. If we keep talking about him, that's what he wants. He fought three times for the world title and got beat up. He tried to make his name when Anderson was fighting him injured, and we all saw what happened in the second fight. I want to fight again this year, absolutely. (Shogun) is good fight, a good option for me. I'm a lot better now, back to boxing training already. I have trained jiu-jitsu last Saturday and it was a little painful, but I believe I'll be ready to train hard in a month."
As far as his prediction for the Mauricio Rua vs. Chael Sonnen showdown, Nogueira is confident "Shogun" will overcome the Olympic-level wrestling of "American Gangster" and ultimately get a knockout victory.
"Sonnen may take him down twice, but he won't be able to do that for five rounds. He will need to stand at some point of the fight and Shogun will tag him. I believe Shogun will knock him out."
Working with striking guru Freddie Roach will certainly help that prediction become a reality.
"Lil Nog," meanwhile, is currently riding a two-fight win streak with wins over Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz and will undoubtedly be an interested observer during this weekend's Light Heavyweight clash.
Is Nogueira vs. Rua 2 still on your "fights to see" list, Maniacs?