Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is known for his inhuman ability to take punishment and has been well known to not pull out of fights even injured.
He fought several Pride fights injured, fought Frank Mir when he was requiring knee surgery and shortly after he hospitalized for staph, he fought Schaub after being off crutches for only weeks after knee and hip surgeries.
He’s a warrior, whether fighting injured was smart or not. This doesn’t include the incredible damage he took in fights and kept going (see His Cro Cop, Herring 3, Tim Sylvia and Fedor fights for examples).
This year, following a loss to Stefan Struve (his third straight), Minotauro finally decided to hang up his gloves for good. Nogueira recently attended the sports and health conference in Rio and participated in a round table discussion promoted by Dr. Mario Tannure. During which Minotauro spoke of his injured
“I have done a total of 22 surgeries; I’m all broken,” Nogueira said with a laugh. “I started my surgery career early, at 11 years old when I was hit by the truck. However, the last five years were more difficult. I had eight surgeries. I have 16 metal screws in my right arm, from the elbow to the shoulder, and they are extremely painful at the beginning of a training camp and also when the temperature changes. I also had a surgery on my left arm and two on my hips. Those four surgeries were pivotal in my decision to retire.”
Dr. Tannure also commented on Nogueira’s injuries from first hand experience-
“When I arrived in Abu Dhabi for fight week, ‘Minotauro’ came to me and said, ‘Doctor, I was sparring yesterday when I heard a snap. I think something happened,’” Tannure said. “This was three days before the fight, and he entered the Octagon barely able to walk. I told him that few human beings would be able to fight with such strong pain. This guy is definitely a cyborg.”
Big Nog will always go down as a absolute legend. No one else has held both Pride and UFC heavyweight belts or has as many top ten wins as he does at heavyweight. Many only saw the passed prime and often injured Nog who competed in UFC. If so I urge you to watch his Pridefc fights.
Photo credit- ZUFFA