Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Pride heavyweight winner, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, is retiring from mixed martial arts (MMA) and will now be taking up a job with the UFC as Brazil’s athlete relations ambassador.
The 39-year-old said in a press release, “It’s a great pleasure and an honor for me to further my ties with the UFC.” He also explained how his passion to follow new athletes’ development is what led him to taking up the job with the UFC.
“I want to help the further spread of MMA around the world,” he added, speaking kind words for UFC President Dana White and co-owners, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. Nogueira vowed to contribute to the growth of MMA “outside of the Octagon.”
White also had some praises for the professional athlete, saying, “’Big Nog’ is a legend in the sport of MMA.” She said that he would be a huge asset to the UFC, athletes, as well as the sport on the whole. “I look forward to working with him in this new chapter of his life.”
The former athlete first fought in 1999 in the World Extreme Fighting event’s sixth season, where he beat David Doss in a surprising first-round submission. A year later, Nogueira defeated Valentijn Overeem and won the King of Kings tournament, which officially put him on the radar.
He also became heavyweight champion of Japan’s Pride Fighting Champsionships from 2001 until 2003.
Muehlhausen, S., “MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira retires,” Sporting News web site, September 1, 2015.