Hey guys, this is a new series Im starting for all kinds of fighters. Up and comers and legends mostly. If you have a fighter you’d like me to do a write up for let me know. MMA is a cruel sport. Athleticism and strategy alone will never be enough. You must posses a grit and determination to overcome the impossible. In the sport of MMA, you will reach your breaking point over and over and over again. To be a champion, you must embrace your breaking point and push beyond it to reach a level of greatness no one thought possible. No one knows this better than Antônio Nogueira. Antônio was present in the MMA scene from the humble beginnings of the sport. He started out in Pride, and dominated for many years. In fact, during his time in Pride Antônio held a record of 29-4. After joining the UFC, he became the heavyweight champion. It’s easy to look at Antonio’s accolades and accomplishments, and picture a dominant fighter who had an easy road. But nothing could be further from the truth. When Antonio was a child he was hit by a truck. A broken rib perforated his liver, forcing removal of part of the organ and of one of his ribs. His diaphragm was injured as well, forcing him to breathe from machines. Doctors told him he may never live a normal life. He didn’t just live a normal life he became one of the best fighters to ever exist. Bob Sapp Vs. Antonio Nogueira These days, “circus fights” are taken less seriously. If Bob Sapp fought in today’s UFC Era, he likely wouldn’t have been taken seriously. But back in pride, where weight classes were flexible and rules were few and far in between, he was taken VERY seriously. Sapp outweighed Antônio by nearly 145 pounds, and when they got in the ring, it showed. Sapp overpowered Antonio, often times throwing him around the ring. In the first ten minute round Nog attempted multiple submissions and did everything he could, but the larger Sapp pounded his face repeatedly in one of the most brutal rounds in MMA history. But Antonio persevered, and 4 minutes into the second round, he pulled off a submission victory by armbar. Mirko Cro Cop Vs. Antonio Nogueira Mirko was known for his head kicks. A legendary fighter in his own right, and widely renowned as the gold standard for a striker in MMA. Antonio took a brutal beating. The faster, and strong Cro Cop took advantage of Nog on the feet, and a barrage of kicks and punches left Antonio devastated. Antonio survived the first round. And submitted crop cop early in the second round despite the massive amount of damage he suffered. Nogueira consistently endured in his fights to pull out a victory from the strangest of places. He was never the quickest or strongest. But he had the most heart. And both inside and outside the cage, he taught us to never give up.