Antonio ROGERIO Nogueira is the twin brother of former PRIDE and UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio RODRIGO Nogueira.  Rogerio is predominately known as “Lil Nog” in the world of mixed martial arts, to his brother’s “Big Nog.”  The casual or even strictly UFC fan may not be aware how just how good Lil Nog is.  Rogerio has had one fight in the UFC, a TKO victory over rising star Luis Cane at UFC 106 (Knockout of the Night).  On Saturday night he returns to the octagon against Jason Brilz at UFC 114. 

At UFC 114 the #1 contender for the Light Heavyweight Title will be determined but Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans are not the only fighters with their eyes on the belt and a showdown with current champ Shogun Rua.  Lil Nog was originally scheduled to fight another former LHW champ in Forrest Griffin, but the TUF Winner was forced out with an injury.  Still, a dominate victory over Brilz should put Rogerio in contention. 

Lil Nog has a career MMA record of 18-3.  In addition to being a BJJ black belt, he is also a Gold Medal winning boxer in the South American Games, a devastating combination for his opponents. 

3 Losses: Vladmir Matyushenko via decision in 2002; Shogun Rua via decision in 2005; Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via KO in 2007. 

Rogerio avenged his loss to Matyushenko in a fight for Affliction in January of 2009, knocking out “The Janitor” with a knee. 

Of his 18 wins many of them are against top talent from PRIDE, Affliction, and the UFC.  Notable wins include; Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem (2), Guy Mezger, Kazushi Sakaraba, Kazuhiro Nakamura (2), and the aforementioned Matyushenko and Cane. 

The Light Heavyweight division in the UFC is already the most star-studded.  The addition of Lil Nog has made it even scarier.  As we have seen it is nearly impossible to defend the belt.  Shogun now has the challenge of creating a Anderson Silva/ GSP type of title defense.  With Rampage, Rashad, Machida, Rogerio, Griffin, Couture,  Jon Jones, and even Anderson Silva as future challengers it is clearly the division to watch. 

Not many people are talking about Lil Nog.  Maybe it’s because of the ridiculous group of fighters that are in his division, notably those who have already held the belt, or maybe it’s because he is still in the shadow of his highly decorated brother.  Either way Rogerio should not be underestimated, and if he was fighting for the belt by the end of the year or early 2011, count me as one guy who would not be surprised.   

Lil Nog will be 34 on June 2, but he has more quality fights in him compared to his twin brother, because he did not endure as many grueling fights as Rodrigo.  We’ve seen fights have success into their mid to late 30s, and even in a few cases 40s.  Rogerio definitely has enough in him and the tools to become a UFC Champion.  After he beats Brilz, I would like to see Lil Nog face either Lyoto Machida or the loser of the Rampage/Rashad fight. 

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