Although he had been holding out hope for a third fight with Frank Mir, former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has opted to officially retire from fighting to take a position with UFC Brazil.
Nogueira officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, according to a UFC statement, which also stated that he would serve as an Athlete Relations Ambassador for UFC Brazil.
As part of his new contract, Nogueira will provide services for a number of initiatives in the Brazil region. He will serve as a liaison for the organization between athletes, sponsors, media and government bodies, as well as act as a mentor in the development of young athletes. Nogueira will also assist in identifying rising talent throughout Brazil.
“It’s a great pleasure and an honor for me to further my ties with the UFC. I’ve always had a passion to follow the development of new athletes and that’s what I intend to continue doing,” said Nogueira.
“I want to help further the spread of MMA around the world and give my contribution to the emergence and development of young talent. I appreciate all the confidence that Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta have in me, and I believe we will reach big results together. I know that I can, and will, contribute much to the growth of our sport outside of the Octagon.”
“Big Nog is a legend in the sport of MMA,” UFC President Dana White said. “He is respected by fighters and fans worldwide. It has been an honor to watch him compete and I’m happy to see him retire. He will be a huge asset to the UFC, the athletes and the sport as an ambassador. I look forward to working with him in this new chapter of his life.”
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Nogueira is one of the most decorated fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. His career spans nearly two decades, as he began fighting professionally in June of 1999.
He is a past winner of the famed Rings King of Kings tournament, was the first Pride heavyweight champion, and has served as the UFC interim heavyweight champion.
Nogueira has also fought a who’s who of the heavyweight division, both in the old-school days and in the modern era. He’s face everyone from the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Fedor Emelianenko, Dan Henderson, and Mark Coleman to Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Roy Nelson, and Stefan Struve.
His career spans the modern history of mixed martial arts.
Accepting the new role with UFC Brazil is fitting Nogueira’s character, as he and his brother, Rogerio, already have the “Nogueira Brothers Institute,” which was created in 2008 and has six operating centers that train underprivileged children in Brazil, using MMA as a social inclusion tool. Rodrigo and Rogerio are also own a chain of franchised Team Nogueira gyms, with 33 locations, including a gym in Dubai.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira retires from fighting at 39 years of age with an overall record of 34-10-1 and 1 no contest.