The likelihood of being asked to be a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” never crossed heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum’s mind.
Werdum received an offer from UFC officials to coach on the promotion’s long-running reality series for up-and-coming mixed martial artists. But that wasn’t the best part. What Werdum heard next was mind-blowing: He’d get to coach opposite Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
“I was very happy,” Werdum said Thursday during a media conference call to promote "TUF: Brazil 2." “I was in Brazil for Anderson [Silva’s bout with Stephan Bonnar] just last month and people were talking about the possibility of me being on TUF.
“I thought it would be [light heavyweights] Shogun [Mauricio Rua] and Lyoto [Machida], but I’m honored to be coaching in Brazil against Nogueira.”
Werdum and Nogueira met in a Pride 2006 Open-weight Grand Prix quarterfinal bout. Nogueira won by unanimous decision.
Entering the July 2006 bout, Werdum had only 10 fights under his belt. Nogueira had fought 32 times, one of which was ruled a no contest.
Experience isn’t expected to be an issue when the two meet in a rematch that will take place sometime after the show concludes.
“We fought in 2006 and Nogueira was more experienced then and I got beat up in that fight,” Werdum said. “I’m much stronger now.”
Werdum will enter the rematch with a pro record of 16-5-1, and a two-fight win streak he hopes to extend.
Nogueira had his right arm broken in the first round by Frank Mir on Dec. 10, 2011, at UFC 140. After months of rehabilitation, Big Nog (34-7-1, one no contest) rebounded with a second-round submission of Dave Herman at UFC 153 on Oct. 13 in Rio de Janeiro.
“The fight against Herman was a challenge for me,” Nogueira said on the media call. “There was a really big amount of damage to my arm. I broke my arm and had 16 screws in my arm. I had to prove to myself that I could go back into the cage and fight and do it in Brazil.
“I’m back again. It was a very important fight for me.”