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MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira retires, will work for UFC Brazil as 'Athlete Relations Ambassador'

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Happy trails, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

One of the greatest heavyweight fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) is calling it a career, hanging up the four-ounce gloves after 15 years in the fight game. Nogueira, who turns 40 in just a few months, finishes with a professional record of 34-10-1, 1 NC.

The Brazilian was recently named "Athlete Relations Ambassador" for UFC Brazil.

"I've always had a passion to follow the development of new athletes and that's what I intend to continue doing," Nogueira said in today's release. "I want to help further the spread of MMA around the world and give my contribution to the emergence and development of young talent."

Nogueira, who joins the ranks of corporate UFC alongside fellow legends Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes (as promised), had trouble staying consistent in the second half of his career, finishing 5-6 under the ZUFFA banner and dropping his last three fights.

But that's not why "Minotauro" will be remembered.

The Brazilian -- who held titles in both UFC and PRIDE FC -- was the foil to fellow international superstar Fedor Emelianenko, and it's fair to say "The Last Emperor" would not have been so highly regarded without the services of Nogueira.

In addition, "Big Nog" was also known for his incredible chin, eating a head kick from Mirko Cro Cop -- as well as a suplex from Bob Sapp -- and coming back to win both fights by way of submission. And if you haven't seen it, be sure to dig up footage of his epic fight against Josh Barnett at "Final Conflict."

Nogueira finishes with a staggering 21 submission victories in his career.

While he never got the opportunity to avenge his losses to Frank Mir, the Brazilian does hold wins over some of the all-time greats, like Dan Henderson (2002), Randy Couture (2009), and reigning UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (2006).

In closing...