Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, through UFC.com, on Sunday apologized for his upset loss to Frank Mir but vowed that he’ll return a better fighter and will reclaim the heavyweight title.
“I apologize to all my fans for my fight on Saturday, and I’m very disappointed with what happened, but I promise that I’ll be back stronger and better in 2009,” said Nogueira. “I’ve come back before, and I’m going to get the title back. I’ve got a lot of respect for Frank Mir, he fought a great fight and was the better man that night. I was ready to fight, but he got to me before I was able to get to him.”
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir used surprisingly superior striking to batter Nogueira in the opening round of their co-headliner, knocking Nogueira to the canvas twice before the round concluded. Early in the second round Mir overwhelmed Nogueira with strikes, finishing off the Brazilian for the first-time in his legendary career to claim the promotion’s interim heavyweight title.
Nogueira’s manager, Ed Soares, reiterated to UFC.com the PRIDE veteran’s intention to reclaim the heavyweight belt.
“Congratulations to Frank Mir on his win, he was great on Saturday night, the best we’ve ever seen him,” said Soares. “As far as Antonio is concerned, now that the fight is over, we’re going to get him patched up, have him take some time off, and bring him back at one hundred percent. This was a rough camp for him, but of course you’d never know it because he’s a true warrior, one of those guys who never complains about anything and who just loves fighting for his fans. He gave his best on Saturday and even though he fell short, the first thing he told me after the fight was that he wants to get that belt back, and our entire team knows that he can do it.”