A fight we first reported back in February could become a reality: Randy Couture is extremely interested in facing Lyoto Machida for the light heavyweight title.
Booking plans for the rest of the year would completely allow for Couture, if he’s able to beat Nogueira, to face Machida on the January 2nd show. If he runs through Nogueira and wins easily, I think they will match him up with Brock Lesnar for the traditional year-end show, because that’s a story that sells itself and it would be one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
If Couture ekes out a decision, however, it would make more sense to have the aging Hall of Famer face Machida on the card. Assuming that Machida will defeat Shogun, of course, it becomes obvious that there are no real challengers for his belt until April of 2009 at the earliest. Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans are fighting in December and it’s widely assumed that the winner of that fight will get a title shot, which means that the title shot wouldn’t happen until mid-2009.
You could easily make a case for a Forrest Griffin title shot if he beats Anderson Silva next month, but I’m assuming that will not happen. I think the best case scenario for Zuffa is a Lesnar/Couture rematch, but the secondary possibility of having Couture face the unsolvable Machida for the light heavyweight title would likely be a very big fight as well.
And anything is better than Georges St. Pierre vs. Mike Swick or Martin Kampmann.