Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira had his best performance inside the octagon against Randy Couture at UFC 102. He was able to drop Randy Couture a couple of times, he had a couple of close submissions, and was able to sweep a great wrestler from the bottom position twice. He was never in any bad positions against Randy Couture, and just looked like a much different fighter than the one that fought Frank Mir at UFC 92. Now, am I in now way putting 46 year old Randy Couture in the same class as Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin. Those two behemoths present an entirely different set of problems. In fact, I almost want to throw the Frank Mir fight out simply because it's clear that the injuries and staph infection affected Nogueira a lot for that fight. However, Nogueira took that fight and lost fair and square so you have to count it, but I don't know if that fight would go the same if they fought again. In fact, some people may think that Nogueira should have to fight Frank Mir again before getting a title shot. I look at it like this though.
Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar have already fought twice and the second fight was so one sided that I don't know if I want to see that one. Clearly I'm a biased Nogueira fan, but I think the UFC should capitilize on him right now. Who else is ready for a title shot? Frank Mir just got destroyed by the champion Brock Lesnar, and is rumored to fight later this year against Cheick Kongo. Carwin is getting his shot in his next fight. Cain Velasquez isn't ready yet and will be fighting Rothwell in a couple of months. Randy Couture will probably move back down to light heavyweight after the loss to Nogueira. The fight with Lesnar would be marketable provided he beats Carwin. So did Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira earn a shot at the winner of Lesnar/Carwin? Give me your thoughts?
UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira coverage