While most UFC fighters spend the months leading up to their fights training new techniques and disciplines, Big Nog has spent the past six months relearning how to walk. In addition to having both of his knees reconstructed, he also had his hips done. What that entails I have no idea but it certainly took some crazy rehab. Sherdog has the details:
“Clinically, he’s been reset,” Cortes says. “He has to maintain the stability of the hip, do the groundwork and prevention. A lot of times in practice, the front of the hip caught, which resulted in a loss of movement in the medium- to long-term. It takes away from the stability [of the joint], which he needs.”
Nogueira has remained dedicated to his rehabilitation.
“It’s funny; sometimes he comes to my office, where he’s provided with all the support he needs, and the other patients urge him to stay longer because it’s working,” Cortes says. “They all think positive. It’s two to three times a week, a solid two hours per day. Before, it was five or six hours a day because I had to prepare him for the second surgery and needed him to get him off crutches from the first surgery. It’s just another part of his story of overcoming [the odds]. His whole life has been about overcoming.”
Getting Nogueira away from the crutches was a defining moment in his recovery.
“He was unsure,” Cortes says. “I had a day in mind, and I didn’t tell him I was taking them, but it was almost like he read my mind and said, ‘Give me three or four days.’ I put him to work in the pool. When he finished, Rodrigo went to get out of the water and asked me for the crutches. I told him no, that I’d be his crutch.
“There was a small rise off the pool, and I told him to push me as we ascended,” she adds. “When he got up the stairs, he said, ‘Now, give me my crutches.’ And I said, ‘For what? You pushed me; you didn’t hold on to me. You’re already walking.’ I worked on him psychologically.”
It’s an inspiring story, especially on top of the fact that Nog has already overcome being run over by a fucking truck during his childhood. But jeez. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard of a UFC fighter returning from a surgery that would end most mere mortals’ careers, I’d have … well, like twenty or thirty bucks. That may not seem like a lot of money, but that’s a pretty large number of guys coming back from horrific knee injuries and spinal fusions and all sorts of other traumatic shit.
The logical assumption is that fighters come back from these kinds of things weaker than they were before. But not Big Nog! No! We can rebuild him! We have the technology! Now that both his knees have been re-glued and his hips have been … hip-doctored, I’m sure he’s gonna be at 110 percent! We’ll find out at UFC Rio, when Brendan Schaub will try to add him to his highlight reel.