UFC

Mitrione answers Nogueira challenge

Matt Mitrione responds to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's call out.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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On Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight, it was reported that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's team is hoping to set up a fight with Matt Mitrione as long as “Meathead” wins at Saturday night's UFC 165.

On Thursday, I caught up with Mitrione to see what he had to say about it, and surprisingly, the affable heavyweight seemed to be caught off-guard by the challenge.

"Really? That’s flattering, man," he told FOX Sports. "That’s really cool he even knows my name. It’s awesome. Cool. I’m not worried about that at all. I have nothing to say about that. I’m flattered he knows my name. It's cool."

Mitrione has made a habit out of not looking far ahead into the future, a trait likely earned from his difficult path as he's learned on the job since coming through The Ultimate Fighter’s season 10. All of his professional bouts have taken place in the octagon, a rarity in a time where so many regional events give the promotion an expanding talent pool to draw upon.

It's to his credit that he's been able to fashion a 6-2 record during the time since, but Mitrione stumbled in his two biggest fights to date, losing to both Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo.

Saturday night's match against Brendan Schaub is another chance to defeat a high-profile opponent, yet Mitrione's popularity is probably what makes him an attractive option for Team Nogueira. Still, even with the possibility of a legend looming, it's not a scenario Mitrione wants to entertain now.

"I don't care," he said. "It's not my business to worry about [what’s next]. I don't get paid to. I go out there, I fight my best fight, I do as much as I can, I beat Brendan, and then we go from there. But really for the most part, it does absolutely no good worrying about where [a win] puts me."

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