Looks like Nog has seen the writing on the wall and knows his time is up – or rather ‘almost’ up, according to him:
Rodrigo ‘Minatauro’ Nogueira expects to retire next year and says he would like to end his career in Japan or Brazil – but first he wants to take another run at the UFC heavyweight title currently held by Brock Lesnar.
Regarding his loss to Frank Mir in his most recent outing, Nogueira says: “This defeat has postponed my retirement, I want to run after the belt.
“I want to be another warrior to help the guys to take this American hegemony and bring four belts for Brazil,” he explains in next month’s print edition of Tatame, outlining his belief that he and Thiago Alves can top their weight divisions in the near future.
“I’m willing to fight here in Brazil, I was super excited to see Rogério fight and see the affection of the fans, what we saw in [Jungle Fight] is priceless. My dream is to end my career with a fight in Japan and then the last one in Brazil”, he revealed.
If Nogueira waits for the UFC to hit up Japan and Brazil, he might be fighting for a quite a while longer. The UFC has popped boners over all sorts of crazy places around the world, but every time you hear them mention Brazil or Japan there seems to be several unspoken headaches that come along with the territories.
Fortunately, another run at the belt means at least a few more fights before Nog stops fighting completely. Win or lose against Randy Couture, I can pretty much guarantee that Nogueira and Mirko Crocop will fight again. Well, I can guarantee it as much as I can guarantee anything with Mirko. He’s gotta get past ultimate can Mostapha Al Turk this weekend, after all. And he still hasn’t quite signed his UFC contract. So there’s just a little wiggle room.
As far as a title shot goes, I’d be a little concerned over a fight with Brock considering two of Nog’s three UFC fights have made him look pretty goddamn terrible. Beating Couture and Crocop would ease my worries but the way the UFC has been booking up title fights lately, it might not even be a prerequisite. A rematch with Frank Mir would be pretty good. Considering how busted Nogueira came into that fight, I’d love to see a rematch.