Minotauro Nogueira: The Greatest MMA Heavyweight Ever?

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2008

With a win on Saturday at UFC 81 against Tim Sylvia, Minotauro Nogueira became the first person to ever hold the heavyweight title in both Pride FC and the UFC.

Surely such a monumental feat should earn him legendary status among fight fans, whether they are for Pride or UFC. But the question is where should Nogueira be placed in the all-time list of heavyweight fighters?

A major factor in trying to decide where to place him all-time has to be his amazing record. Nogueira overall record stands tall at 31-4-1 with two of the losses coming against the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world Feder Emelianenko and another by a split decision loss to Josh Barnett.

When comparing Nogueira, to whom many consider the greatest fighter of all time, there is no comparison. Randy Couture’s 16-8-0 record does not stand up with Nogueira’s considering Couture has half the amount of victories and double the amount of losses. Defeats against people like Mikhail Illoukhine, Valentijm Overeem and even Ricco Rodriguez are scars on Couture’s record which cannot be removed.

Two other top heavyweights whose records can’t compare AND who Nogueira have defeated are Mark Coleman and Josh Barnett. At 15-8-0 and 20-5-0 respectively, neither record can compare with Nogueira’s.

The only other two heavyweights with records that are comparable are Bas Rutten and Fedor Emelianenko. With Rutten only fighting one fight since 1999, he is hardly comparable. Emelianenko has been the thorn in Nogueira’s side throughout his pride career.

Emelianenko twice has defeated Nogueira by unanimous decision and he has yet to return the favor to Fedor.

Although he has not been able to defeat Fedor, Nogueira’s impressive record speaks for itself. No other fighter has defeated and dominated as many top ranked fighters as Nogueira. His impressive list includes Dan Henderson, Mirko Cro-cop, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Heath Herring (three times), and Tim Sylvia, among numerous others.

With these key factors, the only possible fighter who could be ranked ahead of Nogueira is, of course, Emelianenko. I believe an argument can even be made for Nogueira to not only be the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the world, but of all time. Emelianenko continuously is fighting second rate fighters and this is tarnishing his legacy.

If Fedor does not start to fight more serious competition, and Nogueira can have a quality title run, there is no doubt in my mind that Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira can be and will be remembered as the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.

You may disagree with my views, but there is no denying his more than impressive record and the fact that he has never ever been stopped.

Feel free to criticize, compliment or complain! And thanks for reading, I appreciate it.