At 9 years of age he was run over by a truck causing trauma that would leave him in a coma for 25 days. He lost a rib and part of his liver and had to be hospitalized for eleven months. The doctors thought he would never be able to walk again, let alone fight in martial arts tournaments. He would prove them wrong and go undefeated until dropping a split decision to Greco-Roman Olympian, Dan Henderson (a loss he would later avenge).
Afterwards, his record would improve to 16-1-1 before fighting an opponent with a 100 lbs advantage in Bob Sapp. Despite being victim to a piledriver slam and battered for 2 rounds, he would go on to defeat the much larger Sapp by armbar submission. Nogueira would meet his match against the Sambo champion, Fedor Emilianenko (whom is widely considered the greatest fighter of all time) and lose two fights to him. His next great challenge would come in the form of the Croatian Special Forces agent, Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic. Crocop was known throughout his fighting career as one of the most dangerous strikers of all time. His left leg kick was a trademark fight ender with which he knocked-out many opponents by striking anywhere from the head to the torso to the legs. Nogueira absorbed many of these strikes and was able to secure an armbar submission in the second round. After many hard battles, Nogueira would make the transition to the Ultimate Fighting Championship and win its Interim Heavyweight Belt despite being once again on the losing side of the championship fight against the giant striker, Tim Sylvia. He would go on to lose that belt to Frank Mir, beat a legend in Randy Couture and lose to the current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez.
Nogueira is known to be very kind to his fans and genuinely appreciates their support in him and in the growing sport he is part of. His never-say-die attitude and mental strength in the face of adversity and powerful opponents show the courage of a hero in Nogueira.
He is a martial and moral champion.