Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira suffered another submission loss at Saturday’s UFC on FUEL 10 event in Brazil, falling victim to an armbar from fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace and #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum. This marks the second time in three fights that Nogueira was stopped on the ground, and considering how the former Pride heavyweight champion used to dominate the grappling aspects of MMA, this defeat will no doubt lead many to conclude that his star has decisively fallen. Inevitably, we’ll be subject to renewed calls for “Big Nog” to retire from a sport that has been his life for going on 15 years.
Nonetheless, it might not be time to give up on Nogueira just yet. It’s true that his body has racked up a lot of mileage over his long career and he appears to be slowing down. It’s also true that he’s had his struggles in the UFC, including a vicious knockout at the hands of Cain Velasquez and a bone-crunching kimura from Frank Mir that left him with a broken arm. Yet despite all of that, Nogueira’s heart and determination have never once faded. His will to win seems as strong as ever, though we honestly shouldn’t be surprised; recovering from adversity has been the hallmark of Big Nog’s career (and even his life in general). The man possesses the qualities of a true champion in every conceivable way.
And that’s why Nogueira deserves another chance at greatness, and an opportunity to enter the Octagon with some of that old-school resilience that we loved him for in the past. A lot of fans may balk at this proposal, but testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be just what Big Nog needs to get some of the spring back in his step. Nogueira went on record in support of Vitor Belfort during the last media-fueled witch hunt surrounding TRT, though he also said he wasn’t interested in starting a treatment plan of his own. But I, for one, would urge Nogueira to reconsider that stance and give TRT a serious look. With all the wars he’s fought and damage he’s taken over the years, he’d likely be a prime candidate. We’ve seen what TRT has done for Belfort; if Nogueira could regain even a percentage of his old speed, power, and explosiveness, a UFC title run might not be out of the question.
Time will tell what the future holds for Big Nog. But before he returns to competition, I would encourage him to seek out a TRT specialist and get a full check-up. A TRT regimen might be just the boost Nogueira needs to make one last climb to the top of the heavyweight ladder.
Photo credits: Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com