Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is calling a knockout by his fellow Brazilian countryman, Mauricio Rua, against American rival Chael Sonnen at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 26.
After that, Little Nog has no interest in a grudge match with Sonnen, preferring a rematch with Shogun since he believes he's a higher-caliber fighter, as MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz reported.
Sonnen may take him down twice, but he won’t be able to do that for five rounds. He will need to stand at some point of the fight and Shogun will tag him. I believe Shogun will knock him out ... I want to fight again this year, absolutely. (Shogun) is good fight, a good option for me ... That fight (with Sonnen) doesn’t interest me because I want to fight the best, and there are a lot of fighters that are better than him, including Shogun, Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. Chael talks trash, he’s pure marketing. If we keep talking about him, that’s what he wants. He fought three times for the world title and got beat up. He tried to make his name when Anderson was fighting him injured, and we all saw what happened in the second fight.
Nogueira lost an entertaining back-and-forth brawl with Rua back in June 2005 under the Pride banner and was set to try and avenge the loss at UFC 161.
However, Nogueira sustained a back injury just two weeks before the June pay-per-view which forced him off the card, via Tim Burke of Bloody Elbow.
From a rankings standpoint, Nogueira vs. Rua II makes sense, as the UFC's official light heavyweight top 10 list has Nog at No. 6 and Rua at No. 8.
Of course, if Sonnen beats Rua this weekend, those rankings will change significantly.
Additionally, The American Gangster is a three-time UFC title challenger, though he has come up short in each attempt, with two of those losses coming at the hands of then-champion Anderson Silva.
Sonnen took the fight to The Spider at UFC 117 back in August 2010, losing due to a late Hail Mary submission in Round 5 but lost by a more convincing Round 2 TKO in the rematch at UFC 148 last July.
As Nogueira pointed out, naysayers believe Sonnen only had success against Silva the first time around since Silva entered the bout with a rib injury, via Anton Tabuena of Bloody Elbow.
Is Nogueira's criticism of Sonnen right on the money or is his personal vendetta against the American fighter clouding his judgment?