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'Excited' with UFC job, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira doesn’t feel the itch to return

Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro Noguiera Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will turn 41 years old a day before Rio de Janeiro’s UFC 212 in June, but the legendary heavyweight has no itch to return to action as a fighter.

“Minotauro”, who got a job in the UFC after announcing his retirement from the sport in 2015, has detailed his day to day routine in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

Nogueira, who unlike former champions like Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes to keep his job after WME-IMG purchased the UFC, is “excited" to work finding Brazilian talents for the company.

"I do work every day, man,” said Nogueira, who recently launched a new reality show on UFC Fight Pass called “The Third Degree." "Every Monday morning I get a flight from Rio de Janeiro, where I live on the weekends, and I have my apartment in Sao Paulo, so I go over there in Sao Paulo to the UFC office.

"We look for good fighters, we send to the matchmakers, who’s the best guy in the moment,” he continues. "I’m in contact with all the Brazilian guys under contract with the UFC, so we follow them, how they are training, when are they gonna be ready to fight. I have a guy who works with me, his name is Denis Martins, so we kind of follow the fighters and when they do the drug tests, payment, anything like this. I’m very excited."

A former PRIDE and UFC heavyweight champion, “Minotauro”, also a UFC Hall of Famer, left the sport on a three-fight losing streak, and says that the many injuries he sustained during his 16-year, 46-fight career would not let him go back inside the Octagon one more time.

"No, no. I had a hip injury, my last three fights I wasn't 100 percent anymore,” Nogueira said when asked about an itch to compete. "So (after) my last fight I decided. I talked to Dana (White, UFC president) about working, and he said ‘man, come work for us in the Brazilian office.' I love to be working for them. We got like an online show in the internet once a week, and we plan on making more shows.

"Of course I miss fighting,” he added. "That was my life. Wake up in camps. not only the fight, but the camps. To do something. (But) it doesn't matter how much you train, if you can't get there and can't have a good performance because your body doesn't help, so that’s why I stopped. My body wasn't helping anymore, my hips were not the same speed. The foot (speed), you know? Getting inside and outside. I was losing that."

Vitor Belfort, a former teammate who is approaching the end of his career, recently suggested a “legend's league” in the UFC, where veterans would compete under a different ruleset. Nogueira, who rules out a return even under those conditions, approves part of the idea.

"Vitor is a great fighter and he fights someone likes 25 years old is gonna be hard for him, but, of course, if they make fights with fighters in their 40s, why not?” Nogueira said. "Fighters on the same level. But not changing rules, you know what I mean? But I'm not fighting anymore, I'm not thinking about it. But for him, it makes sense."

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