He's had 40 fights in his entire career and never once fought in the country he was born in.
He's fought across the globe from Japan to the United States to Australia. He had wars with Fedor Emelianenko in the Land of the Rising Sun, battled tooth and nail with Randy Couture stateside and suffered a brutal knockout to Cain Velasquez down under.
But in his 12 year career, he never fought in Brazil.
Not until tonight.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira stepped inside the Octagon in Rio de Janeiro tonight, fighting in front of his Brazilian brothers and sisters for the first time in his legendary career.
And he certainly gave them something to cheer about.
I can only imagine how "Minotauro" felt walking to the cage while his countrymen cheered him on. It's incredible that he didn't fight in the multitudes of regional Brazilian mixed martial arts (MMA) promotions that exist before he made the jump to the big leagues.
He fought three times in the United States but made his name in Japan fighting for RINGS and then Pride Fighting Championships (Pride).
He gained a reputation for being able to take a beating -- one that would seem nearly impossible for any normal human to sustain -- before somehow finding an arm to bend backwards or a trachea to crush.
If not for Fedor Emelianenko -- the stone-faced Russian who bested "Big Nog" twice -- the Brazilian would be considered the best heavyweight so far in the sport's short history.
When he made his way to the UFC, he quickly matched his accomplishments in Pride by winning an interim heavyweight title by choking out Tim Sylvia after what was a quintessential "Big Nog" performance; beating followed by submission.
Unfortunately, he was unable to make a single defense, losing to Frank Mir by technical knockout (TKO) before defeating Randy Couture in a fight that was in the running for Fight of the Year.
Six months later, he made his way to Australia where current heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez put the iron-jawed Brazilian to sleep for the first time.
That, combined with his loss to Mir, seemed to strengthen some fans' belief that the years of wear and tear had finally caught up to the Brazilian. Beating after beating have worn him down and he was no longer able to sustain the type of punishment he had become famous for weathering.
Knee and hip surgeries have kept him out of action for a total of 18 months until tonight. Fueling doubts, Nogueira showed up to the weigh-ins looking a bit plump. If you followed any number of MMA journalists on Twitter, the idea of "The Hybrid" defeating the Brazilian instantly become more realistic.
Combine that with two stoppage losses in his last three fights, multiple surgeries, and a year and a half of ring rust and you had all the makings for an obituary.
And it certainly looked that way when it seemed that Schaub had "Big Nog" rocked. But like vintage Nogueira, he came back and delivered a perfect one-two combination that had the American stunned. Several punches later, "Minotauro" had won a fight that many counted him out of.
In Brazil. For the first time.
Damn, that must have felt good.