UFC heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira submitted Dave Herman with a second-round armbar during their bout at UFC 153 less than two weeks ago. The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt’s victory was rendered particularly sweet by Herman’s trash talk leading up to the bout, in which he boasted that Brazilian jiu jitsu did not work on him, and by the fact that this was Nogueira’s first bout back since breaking his arm in a loss to Frank Mir in December 2011.
However, some observers noticed during the fight that the man known as “Big Nog” or “Minotauro” seemed to moving somewhat slower and more gingerly than usual. That was explained this weekend when Nogueira revealed during an interview with Tatame that he had broken a rib in training shortly before the bout. He said (translation from Portuguese),
“Fractured my rib three weeks ago on my right side. I went to the doctor, I took a local anesthetic to be able to train and when [Dave Herman] gave me a shot there, [it] gave me a shortness of breath and [I] took a swing from one side to the other to see what had happened; [it] had broken. There was a big break, but [I] got scared when the kick hit him.”
A broken rib would naturally severely impede a fighter’s performance in the ring. However, the fact that at least the bulk of the injury happened ahead of the fight during training meant that Nogueira would have been limited in how much preparation he could do before the fight, likely hampering both his timing and his conditioning during it. This revelation makes Nogueira’s fairly dominant victory that much more impressive.