Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is once again in a losing streak, but sees Patrick Cummins as the perfect opportunity to prove he still has it.
As he inches closer to the 15th anniversary of his mixed martial arts debut, "Minotouro" has his back against the wall following losses to Anthony Johnson and Mauricio Rua, which dropped him to 4-4 under the UFC banner. When he returns at UFC 198, scheduled for May 14 in Curitiba, Brazil, Nogueira expects his striking to be too much for Cummins.
"His timing with the takedowns can make a big difference, so I’ll use my boxing, muay thai and knees a lot in this fight," Nogueira said during a recent media scrum. "I won’t be apprehensive, thinking about what he’s going to do. I’ll use my game to kill his.
"I’ve been fighting wrestlers for a long time," Nogueira continued. "(Ryan) Bader, Phil Davis, Tito (Ortiz), Rashad (Evans). They are all good wrestlers, and that gave me knowledge in training to prepare for wrestlers. I also brought two Russians in to prepare me for this fight."
Cummins will be back in action six months after a rough loss to Glover Teixeira in Brazil, and "Minotouro" is taking a few pages out of his countryman’s book as he prepares for UFC 198.
"Cummins did well against Glover, actually," said Nogueira. "He’s not a striker and his boxing is not as good as Glover’s, but he did well standing against Glover, he took a lot of damage. Glover punished him a lot with uppercuts and showed me some possibilities, things I can do in the striking area.
"Glover is not an easy guy to take down and Cummins took him down, but Glover came back up quickly. That frustrated Cummins. He stopped going for the takedowns, had to stand and bang, so Glover used his superior boxing and knocked him out. That fight showed me a lot of ways to fight against him."
Nogueira entered the UFC with a 17-3 record, which included wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem (twice), Dan Henderson and Kazushi Sakuraba. But at age 39, with his twin brother Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira retired, "Minotouro" still sees a bright future ahead.
"As long as I’m fighting and training well, putting on good performances, I’m motivated to continue fighting," he said. "This fight with ‘Shogun’, the result was really unfair. I fought well, and so did ‘Shogun’. I can’t think about retirement after a big performance like that, it would be unfair to myself. I still have some opponents to fight in the future, and I won’t think about retirement. I have everything it takes to put on a big performance."
The Bahia-native had the chance to avenge a 2005 loss to ‘Shogun’ Rua when they met at UFC 190 last August. Nogueira lost another close decision 10 years after their first clash, and that haunted him for days.
"It bothered me a lot. I couldn’t sleep well for 15 days," Nogueira said. "But you can’t change what happened. I lost motivation to train again the week after the fight, but then I came back stronger. I ended up suffering a back injury and stayed out for a while, but returned to training in January and I will have a five-month camp for this fight in Curitiba."