Out of action for coming up on a year, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) says he’s healthy and wants a fight.
And the Brazilian apparently knows who he wants it to be against. “Little Nog” took to Twitter to ask UFC President Dana White to book him for a fight against Forrest Griffin (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) on the UFC’s year-end card in Las Vegas.
Griffin currently is without an opponent for UFC 155, which takes place Dec. 29 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a main card on pay-per-view.
Nogueira directed his tweet at White, saying: “I’m 100% and training again. Put me in against @ForrestGriffin on UFC 155! This fight was scheduled once, let’s do it now!”
Nogueira and Griffin were scheduled to fight at UFC 114, which took place in May 2010 in Las Vegas. But Griffin had to pull out of that fight with a shoulder injury. Nogueira fought replacement Jason Brilz, and won a narrow split decision. He picked up a “Fight of the Night” bonus, but also was derided by critics who didn’t believe he had won the fight.
After that win, which made him 2-0 in the UFC after a “Knockout of the Night” win in his debut with the promotion in November 2009, Nogueira dropped unanimous decisions to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis.
But at UFC 140 in December 2011, he rebounded in a big way with a first-round TKO of Tito Ortiz to get back in the win column.
Nogueira, a light heavyweight, followed his twin brother, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo, to the UFC after fighting for years in PRIDE, where he had an 8-2 record, including a submission win over Dan Henderson and two wins over Alistair Overeem.
Nogueira has been on the shelf since his win over Ortiz thanks to a knee injury that took him out of a scheduled main event against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FUEL TV 2 in Sweden.
Griffin was scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 155. But earlier this week, Sonnen was pulled from that fight so he could begin a coaching stint opposite Jon Jones for Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The two then will fight for Jones’ 205-pound title in April.
Griffin, a former light heavyweight champ himself and winner of Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” was critical of Sonnen’s opportunity to fight for the title given that he hasn’t fought at 205 since UFC 55, a loss to Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
“I don’t blame Chael for taking this fight. Why work your way to the top if you can talk your way to the top?” Griffin told FUEL TV’s “UFC Tonight” on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, White said on a conference call with media members that he still expects Griffin to fight in the co-main event slot on Dec. 29.
“Forrest is still the co-main event, and we think we have an opponent for him,” White said. “I’m not going to say anything until it’s a done deal.”
Whether that opponent is Nogueira remains to be seen, but at the very least, White knows Nogueira is up for it.