It’s been more than a decade since heavyweight legends Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko had their trilogy in PRIDE, with Fedor winning twice and the other fight ending in a no-contest. Big Nog announced his retirement from the sport in 2015, following 8 years under the UFC banner, during which time he won an interim heavyweight belt. Fedor announced his own retirement in 2012, but returned to action in 2015, and is set to make his Bellator MMA debut in 2017.
Nogueira was in Melbourne, Australia as part of the fight week festivities for UFC Fight Night 101, and Submission Radio was there when he was asked about Fedor never competing in the UFC all of these years. Nogueira responded by saying Fedor should join him in retirement.
"He waited too much to [get into] the UFC,” Nogueira said. “If he got to the UFC five years ago, maybe seven years ago, something like this, he'd be in his prime, but now, it's not his time to go anymore. So if I'm in his place, it's time to retire."
Fedor (36-4, 1 NC) will be facing Matt Mitrione on February 18th, the first of his multi-year, multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA. Big Nog acknowledged Fedor’s performance against Fabio Maldonado, which ended in a controversial decision win for “The Last Emperor,” but otherwise still believes he has enough left in the tank to get the win.
"I mean Fedor is the favorite for this fight, he's fighting more, he's been more in shape," Nogueira said. "But a fight's a fight, you never know, you know? You have a fighter in [Fabio] Maldonado, in the last fight, you know, Maldonado surprised him. So a fight is a fight, but let’s see — Fedor's got everything to win this fight."
You can watch the Submission Radio video at the top of the page. Also included in this media session are Big Nog’s thoughts on Lil’ Nog’s loss vs. Ryan Bader, the state of the UFC heavyweight division, and more.