Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira headlines UFC’s 2016 Hall of Fame class

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is the first inductee into the 2016 UFC Hall of Fame, with the organization announcing his induction during Saturday’s UFC 198 broadcast.

“I’m really excited to announce Minotauro Nogueira as the first inductee of the 2016 UFC Hall of Fame class,” UFC President Dana White said in a press release. “Big Nog is a mixed martial arts legend and, as an icon of the sport, we couldn’t think of a more fitting platform to make this announcement then at the record-breaking stadium event in Brazil. Nogueira is a true pioneer and we look forward to celebrating his career with all the fight fans in July at the UFC Fan Expo.”

Nogueira, a legend in Pride’s heavyweight division and a former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, fought 11 times in the UFC from 2007 until his retirement in 2015. Though his UFC record was far from stellar at just 5-6, the 16-year MMA vet was involved in some of the sport’s greatest moments during his time in Pride, and had several memorable moments and victories in the Octagon as well.

The 2016 UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony will help close out International Fight Week in Las Vegas on July 10, the day after UFC 200.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s the most sensible name to induct this year, and he takes a rightful spot as the headliner of this year’s ceremony. Sure, his career ended on a down note, but most do in this sport, and what he accomplished over a 16-year run is absolutely worthy of this spot.

[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]

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