11-08-2012, 07:20 PM
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| | 'Big Nog' says he won't fight for the belt unless Junior Dos Santos loses UFC title
'Big Nog' says he won't fight for the belt unless Junior Dos Santos loses UFC title
'Big Nog' says he won't fight for the belt unless Junior Dos Santos loses UFC title | MMAjunkie.com
A longstanding relationship with UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos makes Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira uncomfortable with a title shot. |
Nogueira, who will coach "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2" opposite Fabricio Werdum, said there's "no chance" he'll take a title shot unless Dos Santos is no longer champ.
"If there's any chance he doesn't have the title any more, for sure, I would love to fight for the belt," Nogueira said Thursday.
Nogueira has brushed aside repeated questions of retirement as one of the most seasoned veterans in the sport today. A former PRIDE champion and interim UFC champ, the 36-year-old fighter's career might get a storybook ending with another belt.
For now, a hurdle stands in his way: Nogueira (34-7-1 MMA, 5-3 UFC) will fight Werdum (16-5-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in a traditional season-ending fight between "TUF" coaches. The winner will undoubtedly be in line to fight for the belt.
"This fight is going to be very important for me, because if I win or lose, it's one step forward or one step back," he said. "So I want to be fighting the best guys in the division. I want to be [within] the top guys in the division."
The reality show begins filming in early 2013 and is expected to debut in March in Brazil on Globo TV. (FUEL TV could air the season later, as it did with the first season of the show this past summer.)
Nogueira and Werdum first met in 2006 in the now-defunct PRIDE with Nogueira earning a decision victory. He most recently defeated Dave Herman at UFC 153, while Werdum bested Mike Russow at UFC 147.
Nogueira's relationship with Dos Santos stretches back to the champ's days as a jiu-jitsu blue belt and his early MMA training. The two still train together under the Team Nogueira banner.
"He's my friend and my training partner," Nogueira said.