It's fitting that with the UFC's biggest show in Brazil taking place tonight in Curitiba, the first member of the Class of 2016 to be announced for this July's UFC Hall of Fame inductions is one of the nation's greats.
Welcome to the UFC Hall of Fame Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira.
2016 UFC Hall of Fame inductees
- Pioneer: Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira
- Pioneer: Don Frye
- Contributor: Bob Meyrowitz
- Fight Wing: Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman
A native of Bahia, Brazil, Nogueira almost didn’t make it to this point in his life, having been run over by a truck as a child. In a coma for four days and forced to stay in the hospital for nearly a year, Nogueira showed his fighting spirit at a young age, and he carried that with him through a storied 16-year professional mixed martial arts career.
And while he was respected for his black belt-level jiu-jitsu game and stellar standup attack, it was that will to win that marked his greatest victories over the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Bob Sapp and Tim Sylvia, and made him a beloved figure not just at home, but around the world.
Owner of a 34-10-1, 1 NC record, Nogueira was the only man in history to win the PRIDE and UFC heavyweight titles, and the names on his list of victories reads like a Who’s Who of the sport. Among the men he defeated are Jeremy Horn, Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman, Heath Herring, Semmy Schilt, Dan Henderson. Sergei Kharitonov, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, Randy Couture and the aforementioned trio of Cro Cop, Sapp and Sylvia.
Today, the 39-year-old Nogueira, who has also coached The Ultimate Fighter Brazil on two occasions, is working with the UFC in his home country as an Athlete Relations Ambassador.
With this announcement, Nogueira will join Royce Gracie as the only two Brazilians in the HOF. “Minotauro” is also the first PRIDE champion to earn a spot in the Hall.
Stay tuned to UFC.com for more UFC Hall of Fame news in the lead-up to the official induction ceremony in Las Vegas. The UFC Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Ceremony will live stream on ufcfightpass.com at 12noon PT on July 10.