The Nogueira brother's boxing coach Luis Carlos Dorea did an interview with Tatame where he spoke about his disciple Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and how he's coming along in his recuperation from injury. The topic of UFC 134 came up, and Dorea was quite clear that Big Nog could be on the card. But it all comes down to his health:
Everybody's looking forward to see Rodrigo fighting in UFC Rio. Is he getting ready to go and fight on this event?
Dorea:As for Rodrigo, he’s doing super fine. Rodrigo is going through much physiotherapy, he’s seeing how things are, but we first have to check his conditions, his health. If he’s good to go, I don’t see any problems. The thing isn’t about the fight, but the trainings. The trainings are hard, and Rodrigo trains like twice, three times a day, so he has to be good, 100% healed so that he can train hard and don’t feel a thing. Rodrigo’s doing just fine, we’ll all support him.
Seeing his evolution on his healing process, do you believe he’ll be 100% for UFC Rio? What are the doctors saying about his conditions?
Dorea: Everybody’s impressed with his healing process, his weight loss... He’s swimming a lot, doing physiotherapy, but he also goes to the gym, but, the way I see it, he has to be 100% for this fight. Let’s see how he’ll be when it’s closer to the fight. If he’s 100%, he’ll fight. It’s like that: we start the specific work, the hardest part of the training. So the athlete really needs to be at his best to go through a specific training.
He also talked about a possible opponent for Nogueira on the Rio card:
I’d like to see him fighting (Mirko) Cro Cop. If it doesn’t happen in August, it can be in September, October… But it’s a fight I’d like to see. I’ve seen Cro Cop saying things about it, saying he’d like to fight Rodrigo. They’re two legends, two big names… It really would be an interesting fight to watch in MMA. As for the when, to me, it’ll only happen in August if he’s 100% healed. Rodrigo has a big heart, he really loves doing it and he’s fought while not 100% for his fans, because of his commitment, because he respects UFC, so he has fought while injured.
It happened a lot of times, but we, that see him everyday, know that Rodrigo sick now, he’s injured, he’s having fevers… But, as he always overcomes his own obstacles… Rodrigo is an example to be followed inside and outside the octagon for the things he does. Minotauro shows a lot confidence for us, but now, for him to get into a fight, he has to be 100% healed. He’ll only fight in August if he’s 100%". He has a full team of physiotherapists helping him, and he’s doing great on his healing process… But it’s a fight we’d like to see: Cro Cop vs. Rodrigo.
Dana White made it clear after Mirko's UFC 128 loss the Brendan Schaub that Cro Cop wouldn't be seen in the UFC again, but stranger things have happened for sure. Big Nog/Cro Cop 2 is something that Pride fans have been wanting to see for a very long time. Could it really happen in Brazil? We'll see.