I’m less than two weeks away from a rematch with MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira. I fight him in the co-main event of UFC 140 in Toronto on Dec. 10. I’ve been asked if I want to "prove" whether my second-round TKO of Big Nog was legitimate or not, but, quite honestly, there’s nothing to prove there.
I won the last fight, which took place three years ago in Las Vegas, because I was the better fighter on the night. After the fight there were all sorts of excuses that Nog was hurt, that he had a staph infection but I personally don't think his staph infection played much part in the fight itself, or the result at the end of it all.
I think I would have beaten him in the exact same manner, TKO in a couple of rounds, staph infection or not. Maybe without the problem he could have increased his pace and tempo a little bit more, but, in hindsight, we really didn't fight that type of fight anyway. He fought a very calm and calculated type of fight and he looked to pick me apart with single shots from range.
If we'd started having a hard grappling match and Nogueira backed off or refused to engage then, yes, it could have attributed the win to him not being 100 per cent on the night. I could have looked at that scenario and said, "Yeah, Nogueira wasn't really Nogueira tonight."
As it turned out, though, that didn't happen at all and I don’t feel there’s any reason I need to "prove" anything regarding that result.
Me punching him in the chin repeatedly had nothing to do with a staph infection, believe me. I could be sick as hell going into a fight, but I still remember and can perform the necessary techniques to get me out of trouble. The problem is, you can't keep repeating those techniques over a length of time, as you have nothing much in the tank. Nogueira lost that fight because my striking technique was better than his and that could be the reason he loses this rematch, too.