Former PRIDE and interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will be inducted into the UFC's Hall of Fame as part of the 2016 class and into the pioneer wing. The UFC made the news official during the UFC 198 pay-per-view broadcast.
"I'm really excited to announce Minotauro Nogueira as the first inductee of the 2016 UFC Hall of Fame class," UFC President Dana White said via press release. "Big Nog is a mixed martial arts legend and, as an icon of the sport, we couldn't think of a more fitting platform to make this announcement then at the record-breaking stadium event in Brazil. Nogueira is a true pioneer and we look forward to celebrating his career with all the fight fans in July at the UFC Fan Expo."
The induction of the 2016 Hall of Fame class will take place on Sunday, July 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nogueira, 39, is one of the most decorated heavyweight mixed martial arts competitors ever, having held titles in the two most prominent organizations in the sport's history. He holds notable wins over a who's who list of heavyweight and super heavyweight competitors including Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia, Randy Couture, Heath Herring, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Fabricio Werdum, Sergei Kharitonov, Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Volk Han, Bob Sapp and many more.
'Minotauro' began fighting professionally in 1999 and made a name for himself early with standout performances in the Rings tournaments, which he eventually won in 2000 after submitting Valentijn Overeem in February of 2001.
He fought in 21 bouts for PRIDE, capturing and losing the heavyweight title (to Fedor Emelianenko) along the way, before debuting in the Octagon in July of 2007. He fought 11 times for the UFC, winning the interim heavyweight title against Sylvia in February of 2008.
His professional record stands 34-10-1 with 1 no-contest.