After the fight against Ryan Bader, which happened last Saturday on the United States, Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira talked to TATAME about the bout, the co-main event of UFC 119. “There’re many things I should work on… I took much time to warm up the fight, I only got in on the middle of the second round and on the beginning of the third… He was good, has excellent coaches, is tough, but I think I had more initiative on the fight”, said, believing he deserved the win. Check below the exclusive interview with Minotouro, who talked about the “overvaluation” of the takedowns on the score of MMA fights.
What did you think of your fight against Ryan Bader?
I thought he was better on the beginning, there’re lots of things I should work on… I took much time to warm up the fight, I only got in on the middle of the second round and on the beginning of the third… He was good, has excellent coaches, is tough, but I think I had more initiative on the fight, but he got two or three takedowns, made it cooler. When I went forwards, he took me down, but he didn’t do a thing on the floor. He was good at the beginning, tried to be objective, punched me like four times, fit some elbows, but then he just tried to hold me all fight long.
What did you think of the result? Do you think he deserved to win or you think it could have gone both ways?
Yeah, I’d have won. The way I see, I won the second and third rounds, and he won the first. When it comes to scoring, who did more damage on the opponent, I think it was me.
Analyzing this fight with Bader and your last one, against Jason Brilz, what do you think you are lacking in order to have those great presentations again, just like you did on Pride and on your debut on UFC, when you faced Luis Cane?
Actually, UFC is different than Pride. They worship a lot the takedowns, but the guys don’t do much on the floor and don’t even try to submit of knock us out. What happened was that he kept trying to take me down and I wanted to keep the fight standing up, to get the knockout. I have to improve to fight like I used to fight on Pride, that is something everyone can tell, I have to improve my takedown game, and keep me standing up or, in case I go to the floor, I have to try to fall on top of the guys to pass their guard and try to submit them. When they’re on top you…
There’re lots of people that say: “Nogueira didn’t do the ground game he should have done, he didn’t use his Jiu-Jitsu…”, but if the guy falls on top of you and decide not to punch you, there’s no way you can submit him. On the first round I felt with my head on the grid, so I couldn’t do anything. Only who gets MMA knows that, when you have your head on the fence, you can’t move your hip. What was I supposed to do there? In fact my performance on the ground wasn’t that surprising, but on the positions on which I felt it was hard because he was half out, or I had my head on the grid. What I could do from there was to stand up and that was what I did. On the very end he held my leg and I couldn’t stand up. There were like forty something seconds on the guard, he didn’t punch me, he didn’t do anything, so it’s difficult… You can’t say that if the guy goes to the floor, he’ll try to submit you. What I have to work on is work on my takedown defenses, which I think I improved a lot since my last fight, but I still have a lot to do. I have to keep me standing up, try to knockout, or try to fall on top of them, pass the guard and submit.
What do you expect for your future on the division? Do you think you will fight again this year?
If they wanted me to fight again, I’d be ready (laughs). I didn’t want to lose my good shape. I think it’s impossible, I can’t fight now, but if I could, if I had that power, I’d fight again soon… The fight was tied, and it could have gone both ways. The guy is to be congratulated, he’s a young guy, proved himself to be good, showed he can take people down, but I want to come back as soon as possible, try to win and fight again to be among the top 5.
They said that the winner of this fight would face Jon Jones. What do you think of this duel?
Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. Whoever is better on Wrestling will win. The better one on this fight will win.
Do you think it’s becoming a new trend for the future of UFC, this scoring more the takedowns?
Man, it’s not easy to takedown. It’s really hard, but the guys are good at it, they’re managing to keep the fight there for a while, so it’s different. If you look at the fight of Sean Sherk, I think he lost that fight… The judges don’t get much about the ground game, if it’s not that strong Jiu-Jitsu, they give it for who has more takedowns. I think they should give point for the takedown defenses too. Once the guy defended a takedown, he should get a point too. Not only the takedown, but its defense as well.
Will you stay on the United States or will you come back to Brazil?
We’re launching a new gym in San Diego, so I’ll stay here for a while to see how things turn out on the new gym. I’ll give classes there on the weekend too. We’re closing a deal with Sérgio Moraes so he comes here and help on the Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a nice contribution, huh?
For sure, and it’s also good for him, so that he can improve on MMA too…
Well, the kid’s good, he’s from a nice family, he’s a nice guy, it’ll be good for him. He has a top Jiu-Jitsu… For us, for sure, it’ll be great.