It was almost the perfect ending.
Before his fight at UFC 134, Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira was written off by observers, even if they were almost all rooting for Nogueira in their heart of hearts.
When Nogueira won, the building erupted. Beer was flying everywhere.
Tears glistened on the cheeks of members of the media on press row, as they fought unsuccessfully to regain some level of dignity and professionalism.
Gamblers cheered in surprised elation, even as their bets went up in smoke.
It was an amazing moment.
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira is one of the most loved and revered fighters in the short history of MMA.
With perhaps the exception of Wanderlei Silva, Nogueira is the most admired and honored fighter in his home country of Brazil. He's the guy who inspired a generation of Brazilians to become fighters.
Without Nogueira's personal help, Anderson Silva likely would have retired before having ever fought in the UFC and becoming a legend in his own right.
Despite the greatness of the moment, it was marred by one thing: Minotauro thinks he's back.
Yes, Nogueira won but, make no mistake, he's not back.
The fact that Nogueira won is a testament to how skilled and talented he is, even in his decline. That said, if he was fighting Cain Velasquez again last night instead of Brendan Schaub, he would have been knocked out. Again.
It was a great win, but in the UFC title picture, nothing has changed.
At this point in time, Nogueira still has the ability to beat a lot of mid-level guys. Even in his twilight, he's just that talented. But if he gets matched up against the top guys in the heavyweight division, he's going to lose, probably by a brutal and unnecessary KO.
Given that Nogueira still has designs on returning to the UFC title mix, consider his prophesied KO loss as delayed, not avoided.
Last night could have been (should have been) the storybook ending to a legendary career.
As is typical of MMA fighters, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira doesn't know when to quit.