Knees, back, elbow, hips. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has injured them all throughout his 16 year career and 45 professional MMA fights. At 38 years of age, though, Big Nog has been paying the price of those battles more and more, whether it's the lingering pain or the several surgeries he has had to submit himself to.
However, none of that has made the former UFC interim heavyweight champion consider retirement. In fact, he feels rather optimistic about his future since he was invited to initiate a new stem cell based treatment in Kansas.
"They have a clinic in Kansas where they work with stem cells. What they do is they remove some cells from fat out of your back and then inject them in your joints" Said Big Nog to Combate.
"I did it on my elbows, my hips and knees, it stimulates cartilage growth. It's pretty cutting edge technique. I'm responding really well so far, it's been helping a lot with my pain. I'm still doing physiotherapy, which is responsible for curing my hips, but I'm now doing this to make it even stronger. I had a break between my last fight and The Ultimate Fighter shootings, so I decided to go for it."
Minotauro added he needed to rest for two more weeks before he could start training again. He is eyeing a return at UFC 190, in Rio, alongside his brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who will be fighting Mauricio Rua.
"In two weeks I'll be cleared to train freely again. First I will get my body strong enough so I can train and be 100% ready to fight. I intend to fight at UFC 190, in August. I wanted to come back at the TUF Finale card, but I'm afraid there won't be enough time. I'll definitely be ready in August".
Big Nog hinted there's already some opponents on his radar, but claimed he couldn't say who they were. However, he did confess a desire to fight Frank Mir one more time, maybe by the end of the year.
"The UFC told me they would put me in a card in August, they didn't say which one, but I'm sure it'll be the one in Rio. I still don't have an opponent, they said there were three different guys I could be fighting, but I can't comment on that. I don't have any preferences really, I just want to come back and fight, but I would like to face Frank Mir again before the end of the year."
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira has been out of competition ever since a KO loss to Roy Nelson in April 2014. He will also be one of the coaches for fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil opposing Maurício Rua's team. The show begins on April 5.