It’s clear that whenever the UFC announces a fight these days involving Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, it’s gotten to the point where fans will only believe it when they actually see it.
Once again, “Lil Nog” has been forced to withdraw from a fight. Just last weekend, the UFC announced that Nogueira would square off against Alexander Gustafsson in an important light-heavyweight encounter at London’s O2 arena on March 8. However, the promotion is now in search of a new opponent for “The Mauler” as Nogueira is out due to a lingering back injury.
His last action in the Octagon was a decision victory over Rashad Evans at UFC 156. Nogueira was able to take advantage of a lethargic Evans to secure the win. It was his second straight victory. Unfortunately, it’s been a string of injury issues and fight withdrawals since. Nogueira is 4-2 during his Octagon tenure, but has been forced to pull out of five fights due to various injuries.
The 37-year-old Nogueira remains in the UFC’s top-10 rankings at no. 5 in the 205-pound division. However, attempts to put together important fights for him are continually falling through. He’s been involved in plenty of wars in his career, and it’s getting to the point where his body seems to be betraying him.
It seems as though Nogueira vs. Gustafsson just isn’t meant to be, as it’s the second time a scheduled bout between the two has fallen through. A Nogueira knee injury derailed a previously planned fight in 2012.
As for Gustafsson, his stock has never been higher after his tremendous effort in a losing cause against the champion Jon Jones at UFC 165. There are definitely a number of contenders who’d be willing to take the fight as they will have ample time to prepare. The UFC is in search of a replacement. Daniel Cormier, Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis are a few names that immediately come to mind.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports