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Antonio ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira to retire by the end of 2015

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Maxx Wolfson

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s mixed martial arts career is coming to an end.

The former PRIDE and UFC heavyweight champion, who built a 34-9-1 (1 no-contest) record since his MMA debut in 1999, announced his plans to retire from the sport by the end of 2015.

Coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his 46-fight career, "Minotauro" plans to fulfill his UFC contract and move on.

"I know I won’t fight forever," Nogueira told Ag. Fight. "I’m focused on my gym’s business now. It’s a beautiful work, we have 9,000 students, 32 gyms. … I plan to end my career by the end of the next year, I believe. One more year. It’s until the point my body can handle.

"So many injuries, I’m dedicating to other things now. I will decide when the time comes. I have two more fights in my contract, and then I’ll stop (fighting)."

Nogueira entered the Octagon for the first time in 2007 after winning 30 of 36 bouts. The Brazilian eventually became the interim heavyweight champion, but went 5-5 under the UFC banner.

The legendary heavyweight, who fought the who’s who of MMA for over a decade, feels he doesn’t have the recognition he deserves.

"They want to rush my retirement. The fans are very critical in Brazil," he said.

"You see Randy Couture’s career. He has two wins for each loss, and he’s treated like an idol. He’s Capitan American, national hero. I have four wins for each loss, and they say I have to retire. Brazilians are very critical, and I think it’s a bad mentality for the athlete."