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Nogueira’s win can help boost jiu-jitsu’s popularity further in Brazil

Nogueira’s win can help boost jiu-jitsu’s popularity further in Brazil

Words by Matthew Soroka

The story of jiu-jitsu is taking an interesting turn in Brazil. Everyone knows of the growth of jiu-jitsu since the classic era of the Gracie patriarchs. But just as in North America, with the launch of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, jiu-jitsu is becoming more and more mainstream with the launch of TUF Brazil. It is hard for many to imagine that MMA was not mainstream before the UFC expansion to Brazil, but Vale Tudo was still an underground sport, and there were no grounds for educating the general public. Now, the UFC has broken the barrier again, and it is popular MMA athletes like Nogueira that will further push this evolution of the sport to the mainstream.

Although in the twilight years of his career, ‘Big Nog’ represents a rare group of MMA fighters that constantly push for a submission finish. Big Nog has been leading this group for almost a decade. And now, with his latest submission win over Dave Herman in front of the enthusiastic Brazilian crowd further underscores the necessity of jiu-jitsu in MMA.

"Jiu-jitsu is a Brazilian art, it must be respected. I came to win, but it was special to finish him with my jiu-jitsu. Not bad for a 36-year-old guy with 16 screws in the arm." Nogueira joked at the post-fight press conference.

What made Nogueira’s victory even sweeter is that he was able to embarrass Herman in  condescending fashion due to Herman’s previous statement before the match:

"In my four week preparation, which for me is more than enough, I should have done one lesson in jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu is a great self defense for girls or someone who does not fight and that usually will end up picking up in a fight. If I had a daughter, I would teach her jiu-jitsu."

Post-fight, Nogueira proved Herman’s statement as bogus stating, "several fighters say what Herman said about jiu-jitsu. That is a lie. Jiu-jitsu is taught to all UFC fighters because it is effective. Who does not have jiu-jitsu is at a disadvantage.”

As obvious as this may seem to older fans of MMA and jiu-jitsu, what is important is that these basic concepts are repeated publicly so that the newer generation of fans can respect jiu-jitsu and embrace the art.

Just as many fighters and grapplers today recall that they started jiu-jitsu because of watching Royce Gracie in action back at UFC 1, the new generation can say that the words and performances of Big Nog motivated them to pick up a kimono and start training.

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