Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, known to his Brazilian fans as Minotouro, and to native English speakers as Lil Nog, started fighting in 2001. Although he never achieved success equal to that of his twin brother Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro/Big Nog" Nogueira, he had an extraordinary career. Going 23-9, Lil Nog career wins include Guy Mezger, Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistair Overeem (twice), Dan Henderson, Tito Ortiz, and Rashad Evans, in HooknShoot, DEEP, PRIDE, Affliction, and since 2009, in the UFC. And in 2007 he won a bronze medal in boxing in the 2007 Pan Ams.
Lil Nog fought Maurício "Shogun" Rua, twice, at Pride Critical Countdown 2005 and at UFC 190 in 2015, losing both via Unanimous Decision; the latter but was Fight of the Night. Lil Nog will retire after a trilogy fight vs. Shogun at UFC on ESPN+ 32 on Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, on July 25.
“I think the time has arrived,” said Nogueira to Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting. “It’s a lot of work, several projects, the head doesn’t stop. I’ll do my things, but I’m sure I’ll adapt to not fighting anymore. It’s going to be hard [laughs], maybe I’ll have to do more yoga and meditation to get me focused on doing other things instead of thinking about fights. And I’ll be a coach, I have my team, I’ll be able to train them, so it’s okay. Maybe finding new champions will satisfy this desire or winning.”
“You go to the gym and watch athletes training, it will get to a point where you will train but won’t have the competition. You’re always moved my goals, competitions, but it’s time to think about the post-career, take care of other projects, think about other things. You can’t focus 100 percent in everything. We have the Team Nogueira project, my seminars and lectures. We were splitting the energy and focus, and now I’ll be able to close with a great fight.
“It’s gonna be hard, but I’m okay with it and I’m doing it the best way possible, fighting a great champion, someone I respect, someone that gave me a rivalry that forced me to train even harder. I train more when I’m fighting ‘Shogun.’ I’m excited, I know it’s going to be a great fight.”
“Getting so close, being one of the five best in the UFC, and always being one of the three best in PRIDE, but I think I’ve done great things. Great fights. It was a great career. It’s been a great career.”