MMA Sports caught up with "Minotauro"
Nogueira as he prepares to battle Frank Mir at UFC 92. "Minotauro"
owns victories over some of the top heavyweights including Tim Sylvia,
Heath Herring, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Crocop, Bob Sapp,
Mark Coleman and Gary Goodridge.
MMA Sports: Rodrigo, what are you expecting of
this next fight with Frank Mir?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I have been training hard and I am going
to do my best. At this time I will be more aggressive and I will attack
him. On the feet and on the floor. My best defense will be my attack
and I will take over the center of the octagon and impose my game. I
will use my Boxing to control the distance and if the fight goes to
the ground I’ll submit him.
MMA Sports: So can we expect from you the same
strategy you used in your last fights… studying your opponent in the
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - My idea is ending the fight as soon I can.
It’s always nice, but sometimes it’s not possible to achieve it. I always
try to be a little cautious in the beginning of the fight because a
heavyweights hand is not light and a hard punch in the beginning might
MMA Sports: You seem focused for this fight.
Fighting Frank Mir, is there a special motivation?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I am very focused. I have been living a
100% for this fight. I go straight to train at the gym and them I go
home. Since I first stepped in the octagon, when I signed in the UFC,
I have been dreaming for the day I’d become champion. In fact I was
champion, but the dream was not complete until I had my chance with
the champion. So, now UFC has given me the opportunity to fight for
the belt…I just need to get Frank Mir and besides he is a dangerous
fighter, I will move forward.
MMA Sports: Mir has submitted the current champion,
Brock Lesnar…how hard will this fight will be in your opinion?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I am sure Mir deserves the chance to fight
for the belt. He has proven it already. As I said before he is very
strong, explosive and a seriously dangerous fighter. In my opinion he
is a complete fighter. He improved his game on the feet, is exchanging
better, kicks well too.
MMA Sports: How do you plan to defeat him?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I have watched some of his fights and I
realized he becomes gassy after the three or four first minutes of the
fight. So I believe he is more dangerous during this first round. So
I am in better shape than him and I am more experienced also.
MMA Sports: Some people say he has been training
to surprise you on the ground…
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - He is not going to submit me. No way man!
If he wants a piece of me, I want the same thing also and we are going
to solve it in the octagon. This is what’s gonna happen.
MMA Sports: You said UFC has given to you another
chance to fight for the belt…what can you say about Fedor? He is out
of the question…
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - Well, he is one of the best heavyweight
fighters on the world. But I do not lose my sleep thinking about the
day I will have another chance to fight him. I am a professional fighter
and I have been writing my history in MMA. In each fight I write a new
chapter. So if someday we meet in the future, I’ll be ready for him.
MMA Sports: Your guard has been feared for lots
of fighters Word-wide... but against Fedor it was not an advantage.
Do you agree with that?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - Yes, in part. To beat Fedor is necessary
to fight on the top. It’s one way to defeat him, but my last fight with
him belongs to the past and I am sure nowadays if we met I would feel
more confident to fight him, even though from below.
MMA Sports: What would you change in your game?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I see myself as a complete fighter and
prove of that I have the UFC interim belt and I am fighting for “the
one”. For me each fight is a chess match. If the opponent gives you
a chance to submit him…you enjoy the situation and accomplish it.
MMA Sports: Have you thought about a possible
fight against Lesnar?
Rodrigo Nogueira Minotauro - I would lie to you if I say I don’t, but
I’d rather be focused to fight Mir. Then we talk about Lesnar.