Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a.k.a. "Minotauro", is a
Brazilian MMA fighter that is highly skilled in Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu and an avid boxer as well.
He is a heavyweight contender in the UFC has won bouts with
some of the best including Tim Sylvia, Mark Coleman, Jeremy Horn and Randy Couture.
Antonio Nogueira has a twin brother who is also named
Antonio. Although it is not uncommon in Brazil for twins to be
named the same first name, his brother's middle name is
He is also a mixed martial artist. The two can be
distinguished by a childhood scar on the right side of Antonio
Rodrigo's lower back where he was run over by a truck at age
11. In the same accident he lost part of his liver.
He truly is a comeback kid.
Noguerira got an early start in MMA, first in boxing beginning
at the age of five, then taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo de la Riva at fourteen years of age.
At age 23, he earned his black belt in both Judo and Brazilian
On June 12, 1999, right after receiving his black belts,
Nogueira went right into the ring at the World Extreme Fighting 6
event where he won against David Dodd with flying colors,
submitting him with a crucifix in round one.
WEF 7 would go equally as well. Antonio Nogueira defeated Nate
Schroeder by armbar.
King of Kings 1999
King of Kings 1999 was a Rings promotion with forty eight men
fighting for the title.
It was spread out over three events in
which Antonio won three fights, finally loosing to former Olympic
wrestler Dan Henderson in the semi-finals. Henderson went on to
win the tournament.
WEF 8 was held in between the three King of Kings 1999 events
with Nogueira taking on Jeremy Horn. Jeremy was one of the most experienced MMA fighters
of the day, holding a record of 37-5-4.
Antonio Nogueira won by
decision eight minutes into the third round.
By this time, Antonio Nogueira was making a name for himself
in the MMA world, winning all five matches in a three event
tournament at King of Kings 2000, earning the championship title.
July 29, 2001 was Nogueira's debut fighting for the
In Pride 15 in Saitama, in Japan against Gary
Goodrich he won, two minutes and thirty-seven seconds into the first
round, by submission via triangle choke.
Pride 16, Beasts From the East, was Antonio's next event
where he faced off with UFC and Pride Grand Prix champ, Mark
Coleman, winning via submission by triangle armbar 6:10 into
It was the next fight at Pride 17, however, that would earn
him the Pride World Heavyweight Championship by taking out Heath
Herring by Unanimous Decision five minutes into the third
He just kept going, winning against Enson Inoue at Pride 19 by
technical submission and then went on to defeat Sanae Kikuta by
Knock Out in UFO-Legend event in Tokyo, Japan. It was
Nogeira's first win via Knock Out.
And it just kept getting better. K-1, Pride Shockwave was held
in August of 2002. Antonio faced off with kickboxer and former
football and wrestling pro, Bob Sapp.
Sapp outweighed Antonio by more than 50 pounds and took full
advantage of that fact right off, controlling the fight until
finally tiring out, giving Notueira the opportunity to lay him
out with an armbar submission. Not only did Antonio win the
fight, he won many new fans as well.
On November 24, 2002, Championship Chaos 2 in Tokyo was the
setting for his next fight, this time against Dutch kickboxer
Semmy Schilt. Outweighed and outsized once again, Antonio refused
to back down and won by triangle choke.
One month later at Pride 24, Antonio Nogueira rematched the
only opponent who had beat him, Dan Henderson. Revenge was in order for Antonio, taking
Henderson by arm-bar 1:49 into the third round.
But the winning streak would come to an abrupt halt when
Antonio met up with Russian Sambo champ and Judo medalist,
Fedor Emelianenko at Pride 25 on March 16, 2003. Fedor
ground-and-pounded until winning by decision five minutes into
round three, winning the title from Antonio.
Antonio turned right around and won the next fight though on
August 10 by unanimous decision against the former UFC Champion
Ricco Rodriquez in Pride Total Elimination 2003 in Japan.
Pride Heavyweight Champion, Emelianenko was out of commission due
to injuries and unable to fight. Pride decided to hold a fight
in November 2003 to determine an interim champion.
It came down to Antonio Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic. Although
Mirko took the first round with strikes and his signature left
high kick, Noguerira took him down in the second round and won
via submission by armbar. Antonio was the new Interim Pride
Antonio's next event was on April 25 at Pride Total
Elimination 2004. It was the first round of the 2004 Heavyweight
Grand Prix and was held in Saitama, Japan.
Undefeated former pro
wrestler and Judoka Hirotaka Yokoi was first up. One minute and
twenty-five seconds into the second round, Antonio Nogueira took
him with an anaconda choke.
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The anaconda choke was so effective, Antonio used the
technique again his next opponent, Heath Herring at the Pride
Critical Countdown in June. He had won against Heath in 2001 and
defeated him once again, easing his way toward the Grand Prix
The semi-finals were held on August 15. Antonio Nogueira boxed
his way to a win against Sergei Kharitonov.
On the same night, Antonio met up against Fedor Emelianenko
who had taken the title from him in 2003.
managed to keep the fight off the ground, avoiding the
ground-and-pound punishment he incurred the first time, the two
accidentally butted heads which caused a gash on
Emelianenko's head ultimately ending the fight in a no
Pride Shockwave 2004 was the setting for a rematch with Fedor.
Antonio did not fare so well in the bout, loosing by unanimous
decision five minutes into the third round.
Nogueira bounced back though and took down Polish Olympic Gold
Medalist and Judo practitioner Pawel Nastula TKO by strikes in
June of 2005 at Pride Critical Countdown.
Then at Pride 31
Dreamers in February of 2006, he defeated pro wrestler Kiyoshi
Tamura, defeating him for the second time.
The 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix tournament was next on
Brazilian Jui-Jitsu fighter Zuluzinho was
first up as his opponent. Antonio took him down via armbar early
in the fight. The quarter-finals were held on July 1. Antonio
Nogueira won against Fabricio Werdum five minutes into round
three by unanimous decision.
The semi-finals were held on September 10 at Pride Final
Antonio faced off with American professional
wrestler Josh Barnett and lost via split decision in the second
The two rematched at Pride Shockwave 2006 on December 31.
Nogueira got his revenge winning by decision five minutes into
April 5, 2007, Dana White announced Antonio would fight for
the UFC. He also said Antonio would be known as
"Minotauro". For the third time, Antonio found himself
in the octagon with Heath Herring at UFC: Stacked on July 7,
It was in the third round that Heath layed on a high kick that
floored Antonio, but Antonio pulled it together and won via
Tim Sylvia was Antonio Nogueira's match for UFC 81:
Breaking Point in Las Vegas on Februrary 2, 2008. Because the UFC
Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture refused to fight Antonio "Minotauro"
because he reportedly wanted to fight Fedor instead, an interim
title was created.
After Sylvia layed him down with punches early in the fight,
Nogueira came back strong and ended the fight one minute and
twenty-eight seconds into round three with a guillotine choke.
The title belonged to Antoinio making him the first MMA fighter
to hold championships in both the UFC and Pride. Nogueira also
won the "Fight of the Night"; award.
Antonio joined up with the MMA reality television show, The
Ultimate Fighter for season 8 which began in September of 2008.
He coached opposite UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Both winners were members of Antonio
The two coaches faced off at UFC 92 in December of 2008 which
was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a title defense for
In the first round, Frank grounded Antonio
twice and by the second round the fight was stopped with Mir
winning by TKO.
It was not announced until after the fight, but Antonio
Nogueira had spent five days in the hospital prior to the event
due to a staph infection. Antonio was asked if he thought the
infection affected his fight to which he answered, "For
UFC 102, which took place on August 29, 2009 was the much
anticipated fight between Randy Couture and Nogueira. Antonio was
was quick and sharp and definitely on his game for the match.
Randy did take him down several times early on but Antonio
came back with a full mount, blocking two submissions and ending
with a D'Arce choke and then with an arm triangle. The fight
belonged to Antonio.
In February of 2010, UFC 110 took place. Antonio was a favored winner
over Cain Velasquez but fate would not turn out in Minotauro's favor. With five speedy
shots, Velasquez won via KO.
The Ultimate Fighter star, Brendan Schaub was next on the list. On August 27, 2011, the two faced off at
UFC 137. It had been almost a year and a half since Antonio had fought but he layed on the punches and
knocked Brendan out in the first round. For this he won Knockout of the Night.
His next fight would be one to remember. In a rematch against Frank Mir on December 10, 2011 at UFC 140, Nogueira came out strong
early on as did Mir. When Mir went to the ground, Nogueira took over with grounding and pounding and a guillotine choke
attempt but before he knew it, Mir was in control, locking him in a kimura. The two rolled back and forth and
Mir ended up getting Nogueira in a kimura, breaking his leg in the process which of course, ended the fight.
Nogueira is associated with the Black House team based out of
Brazil which includes such greats as Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. Antonio has one daughter.
Antonio was set to fight at UFC 149 but was unable to due to his leg injury and was replaced.
It is not certain when or if he will fight again.