Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira plans to return to the Octagon next year, but he may also make his final exit from fighting in 2015, as well.
Nogueira has spent the better part of this year recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in the lead-up to his last fight, a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night 39 in April.
The former Pride and UFC champion didn’t have surgery on his knee until mid-June. He has been rehabbing the injury, and slowly returning to training, but plans on fighting again sometime in the Spring of 2015.
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“I’m fine now, coming back from a previous injury, already training slowly, doing the physical part,” Nogueira told Brazilian outlet Combate recently. “I returned slowly to technical training, but I want to be good next year. I want to fight again in April or May.”
Although many people felt it might be time for “Big Nog” to retire following the loss to Nelson, he’d like to go out on his own terms. Nogueira is, however, leaning towards next year being his last.
“I’m thinking of ending my career next year,” he said. “I want to have two more fights, although there’s no one specific yet to face. I’m ready to fight anyone.”
Having been a star in Pride FC’s heyday, Nogueira earned the interim UFC heavyweight championship in only his second fight in the Octagon. He lost the belt in his next fight and then alternated between wins and losses before Nelson handed him the first back-to-back defeat of his career.
Nogueira’s professional record currently stands at 34-9-1 with one no contest.