UFC 134: Rio Fight Between Big Nog and Brendan Schaub Could Determine Heavyweight Contender

June 16, 2011
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The big heavyweight fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brendan Schaub at UFC 134: Rio just got a little bit bigger.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brendan Schaub

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brendan Schaub

UFC president Dana White, at a special press conference on Thursday in Brazil, announced that the winner between the two big men puts himself right in line to face the winner of the fight between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. That fight is expected to take place sometime this fall.

“This is a big fight in the heavyweight division,” said White in announcing Nogueira vs. Schaub.

“We just saw what happened last week with Junior dos Santos. He won his fight and will now face Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight championship. The winner of this fight between Big Nog and Brendan Schaub puts one of these guys right in the mix of the heavyweight division.”

Nogueira (32-6-1) has been out of action for a year and a half, undergoing three surgeries to deal with issues in his knees and hips. Nogueira’s last time in the Octagon was a knockout loss to Velasquez, so getting a victory over Schaub would move him a step closer to a shot at avenging that loss.

Schaub (8-1) lacks a lot in experience relative to Nogueira, but he’s been tearing up the heavyweight division since losing to Roy Nelson in the tenth season finale of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He has reeled off four consecutive victories, including wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, showing marked improvement each time out. Defeating Nogueira would solidify him as one of the UFC’s upper echelon heavyweights.

White fell short of saying that the winner of the fight at UFC 134: Rio would be granted the next title shot. The UFC has also been under mounting pressure from fans and media alike to put the winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix up against the UFC’s heavyweight champion.

Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, recently acquired Strikeforce and signed its welterweight champion, Nick Diaz, to fight UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Strikeforce tournament winner could crossover into the Octagon.

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Ken Pishna is the managing editor of MMAWeekly.com.
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  • wonggfan

    Wow! I don’t understand the fairness behind making the winner of this fight a #1 contender. But I kinda understand the bullshit marketing buzz Dana is trying to create here.

    I would say Schaub is the favorite to win this fight. But beating washed up Nog makes one a contender? How?

    Mike Russow can beat Schaub. It’s unclear with Shaub can even beat Cheick Kongo. The winner of this fight should face Frank Mir. Neither Nog nor Schaub can win the SF tourney.


  • collideoverme

    Gonna have to say I am with you on that. Very curious.

  • Umbreon

    yeah i agree is pretty ridiculous both these guys are way to far away from getting a shot

  • ShockednAwed

    I think this just highlights how weak the heavyweight division is again in the UFC… outside of Dos Santos and Valazquez, there aren’t any proven winners. Mir – loser. Big Nog – loser. Carwin – loser. Lesner – loser. Kongo – loser.
    A kid like Schaub could be a contender one day, and yeah, a win over Nog raises his stature a bit more. But as Wong said, this isn’t a Nog in his prime, so does beating him at this stage of his career elevate you to contender status now? I don’t feel it.
    Probably just Dana doing the hype thing – look at Pettis, even when you’re guaranteed a title shot, you’re not really guaranteed a title shot. 😀