Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira certainly wasn't thinking about hanging up his fingerless gloves after recording his first victory in more than a year at UFC 153 on Saturday night.
In fact, quite the opposite was true as the 36-year-old MMA legend discussed where he sees his career going after submitting Dave Herman via a second round armbar in the co-main event of 153, which took place at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro — less than a mile from Nogueira's own gym.
"I still can fight," said a smiling Nogueira at the post-fight press conference, whose stoppage also earned him a $70,000 bonus for Submission of the Night.
"I feel amazing and I'm still hungry. I feel good physically. I'm very happy to be a part of the co-main event in Brazil and I want to be back fighting in Brazil next year or anywhere (UFC president Dana White) puts me."
Nogueira (34-7-1 MMA, 5-3 UFC) won for the first time since knocking out Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 in Rio in August of 2011. The bout also marked the first time the former Pride champion had fought in the Octagon since having his right arm broke against Frank Mir when he refused to tap at UFC 140 last December.
While a handful of injuries, including hip surgery in 2010, have limited "Minotauro" to just five appearances in the last three years, Nogueira has told his wrestling coach Eric Albarracin that he wants to fight at least three more years.
"As long as he stays injury free, I think he can. I'm on board," Albarracin said recently on The MMA Hour.
"Big Nog" doesn't want to just fight either. He wants to test his skills against quality opponents.
"I want to fight Top 10 guys," Nogueira, said, although admitting a title shot is not currently on his radar. "I can’t ask for the belt, because my buddy, Junior dos Santos, is the champion. He’s kind of my brother, and I’m going to be helping him for the next two weeks for his fight against Cain Velasquez. But I want to fight against the best guys."
White said he wouldn't stand in the way of Nogueira continuing in the sport and admitted he was blown away by his performance against Herman.
"Dave Herman is a monster," White said. "He's a big athletic guy and I thought it was going to be a rough night for Nog.
"The guy is a warhorse. He's fought all the best in the world. I told him when he came out, I'm honored to have you here fighting in the UFC. He's the nicest guy in the world, he's been incredibly successful and I couldn't be happier for him."
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