Retired UFC and Pride heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was announced on Saturday night as the first 2016 inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Just a short time after celebrating his twin brother Rogerio’s victory over Patrick Cummins in the Octagon at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil, UFC officials announced that Rodrigo would be inducted on July 10 at the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas.
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“I’m really excited to announce Minotauro Nogueira as the first inductee of the 2016 UFC Hall of Fame class,” UFC President Dana White said. “Big Nog is a mixed martial arts legend and, as an icon of the sport, we couldn’t think of a more fitting platform to make this announcement then at the record-breaking stadium event in Brazil. Nogueira is a true pioneer and we look forward to celebrating his career with all the fight fans in July at the UFC Fan Expo.”
After he declared his retirement, Nogueira was named UFC Brazil Athlete Relations Ambassador for his continued work throughout the country in September of 2015. He will enter the UFC Hall of Fame as a Pioneer. The Pioneers era category includes athletes who turned pro before November 17, 2000 (when unified rules were adopted), is a minimum age of 35 or has been retired for one year or more.
Nogueira, whose career spanned 15 years, boasted one of the most successful careers in MMA history. With his first professional fight in 1999, he rose to prominence in Japan with PRIDE Fighting Championship, becoming a two-time champion ….View full article