For a while there, though, Nogueira feared that might not be the case.
Nogueira (22-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC), who’ll snap a 22-month layoff when he meets Alvey (33-10 MMA, 10-5 UFC), says he had a problem with his right knee almost one month ago and, at the time, thought it could be serious enough to force him out of the card in his home country.
“Almost there, you know,” Nogueira told MMAjunkie. “Maybe we didn’t fight. But, a long time I didn’t fight in Brazil. So I saw this fight as a big opportunity to be here. We start again and make some good physical therapy – nothing there. So we’re here. We’re going to make a good show.”
This wasn’t the only bump on the road of Nogueira’s long-awaited return. There was, of course, the six-month suspension due to a potential USADA violation that was later traced back to contamination by Brazilian compounding pharmacies
As Nogueira had told MMAjunkie, it wasn’t easy to get back into the rhythm of hard training. He also started preparation heavy, at almost 110 kilos (about 242 pounds), and had to do some serious dieting to get down to the 205-pound limit he’ll have to make on Friday.
But Nogueira kept going. And now, here he is, just a few days from competing at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, where Nogueira is looking forward to performing in front of fans, family and the numerous students of the nation-wide “Team Nogueira” franchises.
“I’m skinny now,” Nogueira said. “Good shape. I’m fast now. So very confident to fight this weekend.”
How confident, you ask? Confident enough to believe that, faced with someone he knows is a notoriously heavy-handed opponent, Nogueira still believes his is the hand that will prevail.
“I want to knock out this guy,” Nogueira said. “I know I can do it. I have a heavy hand. He’s a boxer, he’s going to come, so I’m going to use all my strength, all my boxing. I can knock him out. I’m going to knock him out.”
To hear from Nogueira, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: After knee scare, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira aims for knockout of Sam Alvey at UFC Fight Night 137