Despite that experience, Nogueira, who only recently returned to training, favors Alexander Gustafsson in Saturday’s UFC on Fox 14 headliner. The Swede will square off against Johnson at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, with the winner earning a 205-pound title shot against reigning champion Jon Jones.
“I think Gustafsson will his range advantage well and will get the win by points,” Nogueira told Sherdog.com. “Alexander is very dangerous throwing his right hand in the middle. If Anthony Johnson tries to close the distance and get in the infight, he may have problem with that right hand.
“I believe Anthony Johnson will try to knock him out, too,” he added. “Actually Anthony has heavier hands, but Gustafsson´s long arms give him an advantage in that fight. My prediction is Gustafsson winning by points or knockout.”
As for his own career, “Minotoro” is well aware of the UFC’s plans to stage seven events in Brazil in 2015. Nogueira dreams to fight in his home country before year’s end.
“Unfortunately I won’t be ready to fight in Rio de Janeiro on March 21, but if they want to put me in the next event in May, I´ll be ready. I just don’t want to take short-notice fights anymore. I promised to myself that I´ll be in my best shape in my next challenge,” he said.
“The fans can expect a great return from the champion,” Nogueira said. “Recently, I saw his training, and he used his legs normally, using hard kicks and also showing great boxing technique. He is definitely relaxed, and I believe he will put on a great performance for the fans.”