Expecting to figure out at PRIDE’s October 21st Las Vegas card, “The Little” Nogueira talks to OntheMat.com about Pride GP OW and comments on his Olympic Boxing career Interview: Brazilian Top Team Fighter, Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira
Expecting to figure out at PRIDE’s October 21st Las Vegas card, “The Little” Nogueira talks to OntheMat.com about Pride GP OW and comments on his Olympic Boxing career DENIS MARTINS: Recently you fought an Olympic Boxing competition titled Torneio das Estrelas. What can you tell us about this?
ROGERIO “MINOTOURO” NOGUEIRA: I fought and won Brazilian Championship last year and this award qualified me to be in the Trials for the South-American of Boxing in next November in Argentina. The 4 first places of the ranking disputed this Trials(Torneio das Estrelas) do reach the place at South-American, and I came across like the winner.
DM: How do you manage your Boxing and MMA trainings? MINOTOURO: When I train Boxing I lose a little of my strength, but I do have a good free-time of the Boxing competitions, I’m dedicating myself to the MMA trainings again. But I have to mention, I’m happy with my boxing career, I stepped-up 5 times on the ring and this is very important for me. Because each time I fight Boxing I’ll acquire experience, I can have a better ring vision, and of course I’m between the better Boxers. I’m not fighting against unknown fighters, I’m between the top Boxers of Brazil. Even if this is Amateur Boxing, we don’t gain money, the experience and the level of the competitions are high, and this doesn’t have price- my hands are sharpened. DM: What’s your boxing resume?
MINOTOURO: I’m 8-1. DM: Your last MMA fight was re-match against Alistair Overeem and you had a few problems during that match. Did he surprise you with new tools on this your second match? MINOTOURO: I think the main reason of my “not good at all” performance against him was the definition of my opponent by the Pride. They booked Overeem three days prior the travel, and this wasn’t good for me- I didn’t have a good training focusing on him. The first time we fought, I was very-well trained, where I focused Muay Thai with Luis Alvez, Anderson Silva and Katel Kubis; three excellent muay thai fighters/coaches. This last time against him, I tried to use my Boxing and I felt troubles on the distance, because Boxing and Muay Thai have different ways of be fitted. However during the fight I found where I wasn’t going well and turned it.
DM: What kind of difficulties you felt against Overeem? MINOTOURO: He didn’t knee me like the first time we fought. He kicked me by different way he did in first time. I was focused in that his usual kick, and he kicked with the other leg. Every-time he landed that kick, I didn’t find him to counter attack. So I worked on realizing where his head was bouncing, and then I threw a straight that connected.
DM: Was your choice to fight Boxing instead MMA or this was Pride which didn’t invite you?
MINOTOURO: They probed me to fight on that last stage of OW GP, but when they contacted me I was with an injured knee. So when they didn’t contact me anymore I went to Boxing. DM: What’s your opinion about the finals of Pride GP OW?
MINOTOURO: I think the knockdown my brother (Rodrigo”Minotauro” Nogueira) suffered against Barnett was what defined the split decision in the Josh Barnnet’s favor. About Wanderley Silva x Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, I guess Silva was influenced by people talking to him his game was so cautious. I think he dictated the wrong strategy against Cro Cop. The level of this sport is so high, if you don’t protect yourself and just attack all the time, you can gas out. And a adopting this technique, mainly against Cro Cop, who’s a counter-attack fighter, can be fatal.
DM: Okay, and then- do you think your brother was saved by the bell when Barnett sunk that knee-bar?
MINOTOURO: I believe that submission was tight on the beginning, but Rodrigo defended it well. I think Rodrigo would escape of that if there was more time.
DM: Your impressions about Cro Cop?
MINOTOURO: He fought better, he was with an improved BJJ and his ground & pound was sharpened. These two thingas mentioned by me – plus his unquestionable striking abilities – were the key for his success. DM: Did you watch Bushido 12?
MINOTOURO: Not yet. DM: But what did you think about the results, mainly about Dan Henderson’s defeat?
MINOTOURO: This was a surprise for me, because he was one of the favorites. For me I always thought Paulo Filho will take the GP, but Henderson was one of the favorites because he’s the current champion of this category. But favoritism doesn’t win fights and if you relax in any moment of a fight or in the training, your opponent will “eat” you. DM: Pride is going to USA in next October, what did you think about this DSE’s step in the American soil? MINOTOURO: I think the American business is very promising and I expect huge crowds and huge PPVs for the show. We see how this is in Japan, which is a small country, now imagine the same success in a country with territorial dimensions of USA. Pride has a large tradition in the MMA scene, and I think the Pride fights are a bit better than the UFC’s ones. Of course the UFC has excellent fighters, but in heavyweight Pride is better; and I think in under 73kgs Pride is going well too. For me the Pride in America is great, and I do have a chance of fighting there in October.
DM: So are you going to fight Pride 32?
MINOTOURO: There is a conversation but anything is 100% confirmed.
DM: A lot of people expected you against Quinton Jackson in Pride. But he left the organization and this fight is not going to happen anymore. Would you like to fight him?
MINOTOURO: If he was at Pride, I’d like- but he left and I don’t see this fight happening anymore. He’s a good fighter, and if we fight, I’d dictate an aggressive pace over him, similar to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua did in their fight. DM: So you’ve good chances of fighting in 10/21. Do you have any prediction about your opponent?
MINOTOURO: There’re a lot of middleweight fighters, not very-well ranked to be Wanderley’s challenger. The only fighter I can think to be the challenger is Ricardo Arona, but I won’t fight him (laughs). Pride may have a few fighters in their mind to book; this will be the first Pride in USA and of course they’ll try to fill the card with American fighters. I imagine they can use good fighters like Jeremy Horn, who doesn’t have contract with UFC. Good names to fight won’t be a problem.