Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hasn’t fought since suffering a first-round knockout to Cain Velasquez last February, but with his recovery on track from knee and hip surgeries that scrapped his September matchup with Frank Mir, the former heavyweight champion is planning to return to the UFC in late summer or early fall.
“His recovery, his therapy is getting really good. His physical therapy, he’s doing really, really well. He’s walking better than he’s walked since I’ve known him. They fixed a lot of his injuries, and he’s recovering very, very well,” Ed Soares, Nogueira’s manager, recently told MMAWeekly.
Though Nogueira could still return at August’s UFC 134, the UFC’s first event in Brazil in 14 years, he’ll likely wait an extra month or two to ensure he’s fully recovered and in top form.
“He’s hungry. He wants to get back in there,” Soares said. “A lot of people in the world, and a lot of people in the MMA world, think ‘oh Nogueira has had it, his best days are behind him,’ but I think people are going to be surprised when they see how well and how prepared when Rodrigo comes back.”