While nothing has been confirmed by the UFC yet, rumors persist that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will return to action at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro if he’s ready in time. There were rumblings that Big Nog could meet Brendan Schaub on the card, but it appears that Nogueira’s camp has someone else in mind. His boxing coach, Luis Carlos Dorea, told Tatame that they hopes to get a rematch with Nogueira’s former PRIDE opponent Mirko Cro Cop.
I’d like to see him fighting (Mirko) Cro Cop. If it doesn’t happen in August, it can be in September, October… But it’s a fight I’d like to see. I’ve seen Cro Cop saying things about it, saying he’d like to fight Rodrigo. They’re two legends, two big names… It really would be an interesting fight to watch in MMA. As for the when, to me, it’ll only happen in August if he’s 100% healed. Rodrigo has a big heart, he really loves doing it and he’s fought while not 100% for his fans, because of his commitment, because he respects UFC, so he has fought while injured.
It happened a lot of times, but we, that see him everyday, know that Rodrigo sick now, he’s injured, he’s having fevers… But, as he always overcomes his own obstacles… Rodrigo is an example to be followed inside and outside the octagon for the things he does. Minotauro shows a lot confidence for us, but now, for him to get into a fight, he has to be 100% healed. He’ll only fight in August if he’s 100%”. He has a full team of physiotherapists helping him, and he’s doing great on his healing process… But it’s a fight we’d like to see: Cro Cop vs. Rodrigo.
That fight definitely makes more sense than putting a young buck like Schaub up against a weathered veteran like Nogueira, but is Mirko Cro Cop still even in the UFC? Dana White made it pretty clear following his most recent loss to Brendan Schaub that Mirko was done with the organization, but there was never any official word that he had in fact been cut. Plus, he’s still listed as an active fighter on UFC.com, so I guess we can assume he wasn’t.
When Fighters Only contacted Mirko to get his thoughts on the match-up, Cro Cop confirmed that he would take the fight.
“Yes I saw the comments made by Nogueira’s boxing coach and I agree. I am ready to fight Nogueira any time, even in Brazil in August.”
Last we heard from Cro Cop, he said he one fight remaining on his UFC contract. There probably isn’t a better opponent to finish out his career against than Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.