After 16 years of trading punches with some of the most dangerous men on the planet, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is calling it a career, UFC president Dana White said during the UFC 190 post-fight press conference.
“I love Big Nog, and I think everybody loves Big Nog,” White said. “He’s such a good guy. He’s respected by everybody, and he and I actually talked tonight. I’m done. I don’t want to see him fight anymore.
“He doesn’t disagree. He and I are going to get together, and we’re going to talk. I’m probably going to give him the Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Forrest Griffin deal. I’m going to bring him in and make him an employee.”
Nogueira suffered the fourth loss in his last five fights in Rio de Janeiro, dropping a three-round unanimous decision to Stefan Struve. Big Nog looked seemingly more competitive in this loss than any of the previous three—losses that saw him get knocked out once and submitted twice. Still, at 39 years old, it’s hard to fault Nogueira or the UFC for wanting this.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt long competed under the PRIDE banner in Japan, earning victories over Bob Sapp, Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop and Fabricio Werdum. Nogueira signed with the UFC in 2007, earning the interim UFC heavyweight title when defeating Tim Sylvia.
Arguably a top-five heavyweight of all time, Nogueira’s likely a lock to make the UFC Hall of Fame.