After witnessing a battle-worn 39 year-old Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s latest defeat against Stefan Struve at UFC 190 on Saturday night, Dana White declared that it was time for the heavweight legend to hang up his gloves.
From the sound of things, White isn’t so much asking as telling ‘Big Nog’ that his day has come.
“I love ‘Big Nog,’ and I think everybody loves ‘Big Nog,’” White stated at the post-fight press conference in Brazil. “He’s such a good guy. He’s respected by everybody, and he and I actually talked tonight. I’m done. I don’t want to see him fight anymore.”
When asked what Nogueira thought about that White replied, “He doesn’t disagree.”
It’s a decision that’s not before time. Nogueira has endured a remarkable amount of punishment over the years, and while in his heyday it was something that we all marvelled at, in recent years it’s become something that seems to instinctively induce a cringe-reflex with each blow that lands to his big noggin.
It’s clear that if left to his own devices Nogueira would fight until the end of time, but with three losses in a row, and just three victories in his last nine Octagon outings, White is right to put his foot down and force him to call time on his career.
It doesn’t appear that White is going to turn his back on the much-loved star though as he’s revealed that he wants to offer him a job within the UFC as he’s done with a few others in the past.
“He and I are going to get together, and we’re going to talk. I’m probably going to give him the Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Forrest Griffin deal. I’m going to bring him in and make him an employee.”