At UFC 69 Dana White announced that the UFC had signed Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (29-4-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) furthering the depth of the UFC’s renewed heavyweight division. Other notable recent signings include Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Heath Herring as well as Randy Couture who came out of retirement to capture the UFC Heavyweight title from Tim Sylvia at UFC 68. Here’s a snip from MMAWeekly.com on the situation:
“Former Pride Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira signed a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday. Sources close to the dealings indicated that although Nogueira could be seen with UFC president Dana White at Thursday nightâ€™s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, Nev., the deal had not yet been inked at that point. In actuality, Nogueira put pen to paper just a few short hours prior to last nightâ€™s UFC event in Houston, Texas.
Although Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta now own the Pride Fighting Championships, Nogueira was not simply â€œassignedâ€? to the UFC. In fact, he was not yet under a contract with any organization and White had expressed interest in luring Nogueira to the UFC in the past.”
This division should have mountains of great matches this year, especially a title defense for Randy Couture against Gabriel Gonzaga or “Cro Cop” depending on who wins at UFC 70 on April 21st.