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Antonio Rogério Nogueira likely to debut at UFC 105

The UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding his signing, but it looks as though Lil Nog will be making his debut with the world’s leading MMA organization at November’s UFC 105 event in England. At least that’s what Fighters Only is saying:

According to sources close to “Lil Nog”, the Brazilian will make his debut for the organisation at UFC 105. Apparently the UFC also wants him to fight for the title as soon as possible.

I feel like that whole second sentence is a bit sketchy. Considering all the variables at the top of the light heavyweight division — Machida v. Shogun, Rampage v. Rashad, Franklin v. Belfort, Ortiz v. Coleman, Anderson Silva’s desire to fight at 205, Forrest Griffin’s eventual return — it seems unlikely that the UFC is going to rush Lil Nog into a title bout.

I think it’s more likely that the former Pride FC star is going to have to win a few high profile fights just like anyone else before he gets a crack at the coveted 205 pound strap. Let’s not forget that Dan Henderson was practically promised a title shot if he beat Michael Bisping. The UFC treats fighters the same way that I treat women: they consistently make empty promises. (“If you let me put it in your poop shooter, I will absolutely go with you to see Love Happens. I promise. I might even pay for it.”)

The big question is who will be the man to welcome the Brazilian stand-out to the big show? The way I see it, there are essentially four choices: Thiago Silva, Brandon Vera, Jon Jones, and Luiz Cane.

Silva is fresh off his stoppage victory over Keith Jardine, which was essentially his coming out party as a contender. The UFC might stick him in with Lil Nog, but I think it’s more likely he’ll face one of the losers of the divisions upcoming high profile bouts. Vera just earned a fairly uneventful decision over K-Sos and, in doing so, reaffirmed his place at the middle of the division. It’s do or die time for “The Truth” so a fight with a world class fighter like Lil Nog might be just what the doctor ordered, but at the same time the fight likely wouldn’t create much buzz based off of Vera’s lackluster performances as of late. Jones is a possibility, but I feel like the UFC is going to wait another one or two fights before throwing the 22 year old prodigy to the wolves.

Luiz Cane is essentially the perfect choice. He is a top 10 ranked prospect who has turned some heads with his victories over Jason Lambert, Sokodjou, and, most recently, former WEC champ Steve Cantwell. Now is the time for him to take the proverbial step up in competition, and Lil Nog needs a tough, ranked opponent who will bring the fight. Plus, I’m also pretty positive he doesn’t have a fight booked anytime soon. Book this shit now.

As a side note, Joe Silva, you better start worrying. I’m coming to take your job, goatfucker. (When I say “goatfucker,” I mean it in the sweetest way possible. <3)