In the world of mixed martial arts, the action in the cage can occasionally be bland when compared to the copious amount of trash talk that precedes it. When talking about UFC 156's co-main event between Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, that certainly will not be the case.
Nogueira is a proud Brazilian who became a world-ranked fighter with wins over the likes of Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem and Tito Ortiz. Not only is he beloved by fans, but he's respected by his peers.
After the announcement that he would meet Nogueira, Evans was quick to praise his opponent. In an interview with MMACanadaTV (via SB Nation), Evans offered commendation:
He has good stand up. His boxing is pretty good, one of the best in the weight class. Also his ground, he has a really good ground game so I gotta be aware of the ground.
During Monday's media call to promote UFC 156, Nogueira was thrilled to hear about the surprising praise coming from the usually sharp-tongued Evans. Through translator Ed Soares, Nogueira expressed his joy.
"It makes [me] very happy to hear Rashad say those things." said Nogueira. "He is a former champion and [I have] a lot of respect for him too."
Although Nogueira hit a two-fight skid, he rebounded in his most recent fight with a first-round TKO over Tito Ortiz. If he can continue that momentum by upsetting another former champion like Evans, the former Pride star will prove that he still has what it takes to compete with the best in the world.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report MMA for previews, live coverage and post-fight analysis for the event.