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'Minotauro' Nogueira healthy and ready for Randy Couture at UFC 102

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"I wasn’t getting to take the fight to the floor. I had an injury two weeks before the fight when I went to USA. I had my knee hurt and tore my meniscus and it messed up my standing training and takedowns. My knee displaced many times during the fight. I wasn’t well at all. I wasn’t 100%. Now it’s time to train harder and face Randy."

Staph infection wasn't the only malady the plagued former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira during his losing title defense against Frank Mir at UFC 92: "The Ultimate 2008" back in December. The Brazilian indicates that he was also nursing a knee injury, which required surgery to repair after the lopsided beating. He was apparently seriously messed up, which might help better explain his most recent outing -- he was finished for the first time ever in his illustrious career via technical knockout in the second round. It was a feat that Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Mirko Cro Cop and even "The Beast" Bob Sapp have been unable to accomplish. Perhaps most surprising is that Mir — a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt — schooled Nogueira in the stand up — an aspect that Nogueria appeared to have the advantage heading into the fight. That was certainly not the case. Now healthy, Nogueira is set to face another former champion and legend of the sport, Randy Couture, at UFC 102 on August 28. With his health issues seemingly resolved, can he climb back to the top of the division heap or have his brutal days in PRIDE taken their toll on his body and career?

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