Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira still buddies with Junior dos Santos despite defection to Nova Uniao

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

While the former heavyweight title challenger packed up his belongings and set up shop with Nova Uniao, UFC Fight Night 39 headliner Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira refutes any claims of bad blood between him and Junior dos Santos, admitting "JDS" still trains with Team Nogueira on a weekly basis.

Don't worry, they're still friends -- and always will be.

Junior dos Santos was in dire need of a shake up after losing to Cain Velasquez for the second time at UFC 166, taking one of the most one-sided beatings in Octagon history.

As a result, "Cigano" decided to ditch Team Nogueira for Team Nova Uniao, led by Andre Pederneiras and home of current champions, Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. But, his move was met with some controversy, since he was leaving Brazilian legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's camp, for another camp from the same country.

"Big Nog" (via Sherdog) closes the door on any sort of bad blood between the two, and confirms he still sees Dos Santos on a weekly basis:

"He's an experienced fighter, he knows what he's doing for his career. He's still doing boxing with Master Doria, so he's welcome here at least two, three times a week. He trains boxing with those guys and if he feels like he's got to improve his ground skills, with Andre Pederneiras, he knows what he's doing. He's a very experienced fighter, but he's still welcome here, he's still my friend. He just came out -- we talked about Roy Nelson, last Saturday, about strategic things, and he decided that for his career, but he's still welcome and he's still a good friend of mine."

Nothing to see here, folks.

Dos Santos' decision to shift camps to work on his ground game is interesting, because in all fairness, the Nogueira brothers are known for their impeccable ground skills. On the flip side, Nova Uniao births its share of beasts, so there's that, too.

Was it the right decision for "Cigano?"

Time will tell.

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