Of all of the cool things to happen at last night’s UFC 198 – Stipe Miocic winning the world title, Jacrae Souza KOs Vitor Belfort and Cris Cyborg’s UFC debut, this was my highlight. Former UFC interim heavyweight champion and Pride heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is going into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.
I first watched Nogueira in his fight with Frank Mir, who finished him quickly. I didn’t think much of him at first – that is until I discovered his Pride fights and the wars he had with Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Cro Cop” and Heath Herring. I quickly became a fan of his. After I learned about the accident he had as a child, I grew to admire him even more.
Nogueira’s best career moments were mainly in Pride, but he also had a lot of success in the UFC. And I saw some people who were upset because Nog is getting into the Hall of Fame and guys like Emelianenko is not – the whole “what did he do that was so important?” type mentality. Sure maybe Nog didn’t defend his UFC interim heavyweight title that many times – he was still a champion – or have a lot of success late in his career – he’s still one of the most beloved fighters in mixed martial arts history – but he’s a legend and he’s as much of a hall of famer as any other candidate in my opinion.
Congrats to Nog.