A report that first emerged in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is being lined up to face the winner of UFC 106’s Brock Lesnar Vs Shane Carwin clash has now been confirmed according to the Inside Fights website.
The former interim heavyweight champion of the UFC bounced back from a loss to Frank Mir at the end of last year with an impressive win over Randy Couture at UFC 102. That encounter was one of the most exciting headline fights in the promotion this year and has clearly convinced the UFC that he is now ready for a shot at the title.
It is a change in fortune for the Brazilian who many had stated was past his best before the Couture fight. Whichever fighter he faces will be a challenging match-up for the 33 year old with both of his potential opponents having a considerable size advantage over him.
Nogueira is however no stranger to such a scenario having faced giants such as 6ft’ 11 1/2 inch Dutch kickboxer Semmy Schilt and 320lb Bob Sapp during his time in the Pride Fighting Championships.
One man who will not be happy to hear the news is Cain Velasquez who has recently confessed that he was dissapointed to find that Shane Carwin was selected before him to face Brock Lesnar. With Nogueira now seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order as well it may be some time before the undefeated (6-0) mixed martial artist gets an opportunity to fight for the belt.
For the mean time his focus will remain on ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell who he is scheduled to face at UFC 104 on October 24th.