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Lil’ Nog retiring after UFC on ESPN 14, but ‘motivated’ Alexander Gustafsson is ‘here to stay’

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UFC on ESPN 14, which takes place this Sat. night (July 25, 2020) on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, will mark the final fight for light heavyweight veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who turned 44 back in June and at this point, is held together with Popsicle sticks and duct tape.

“I think it’s a good time to stop now, I think it’s going to be the last one,” Nogueira told reporters at the UFC on ESPN 14 media day (via MMA Junkie). “A lot of kids, a lot of work to do outside the cage. In my last three years, it was very difficult to train because I had a herniated disc. I had to cancel a lot of fights. Every year I fought one time, then the second one I would have to cancel. It was difficult for me my last three years.”

Nogueira (23-9) is coming off a knockout loss to Ryan Spann at UFC 237 back in early 2019 and will join his brother in retirement after completing his trilogy against former light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua, a rivalry that started more than a decade ago in PRIDE FC.

Speaking of retirement, former 205-pound title contender Alexander Gustafsson, 33, will make his return to combat sports at UFC on ESPN 14 after calling it quits in the wake of his Anthony Smith loss at UFC Fight Night 153. An “emotional” decision “The Mauler” quickly overturned after finding new motivation to compete.

“It was an emotional moment, nothing else,” Gustafsson said (via MMA Fighting). “I was just heartbroken. It was a tough fight. It was in Stockholm against a guy I know I’ve got the tools to beat but I didn’t, obviously. It was a tough night and my emotions and thoughts were just chaos in my head. Right now, it’s just one fight at a time. I’ll beat Werdum on Saturday then we’ll take the next one. I’m here to stay.”

Gustafsson (18-6) will make his UFC comeback against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, who like the Swedish “Mauler,” is looking to rebound from a disappointing performance his last time out. Time is certainly of the essence, as “Vai Cavalo” turns 43 at the end of the month.

To see who else is fighting at UFC on ESPN 14 click here.