"This fight is the most important fight of my life," Nogueira said of his UFC brawl against Evans. "I'm just focused on this fight. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm going to try to do my best, and if I win, I think I'm going to be in a good place in the light-heavyweight division."
Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 12-2-1 UFC) could get a shot at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva with a win over Nogueira, but the Brazilian legend is looking to spoil those plans.
Nogueira (20-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) hopes to prove he's still a top ten contender in the UFC's light heavyweight division by taking out a former champ like Evans.
"It's been 14 months or so without a fight, but I think it's going to motivate me," Nogueira said. "I can't wait to fight again. I trained a lot. I know this is a big fight on a big card, and I'm motivated for it."
UFC 156 is slated for Feb. 2 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will be headlined by a featherweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo.
What would a victory over a top contender such as Evans do for Nogueira?
"I don't know," Nogueira said. "Some guys say I'm top 10. Some say top 15. But I want to be in the top five.
"When I beat this guy, I'm going to be in a good place."