There was a time not so long ago that the prospective fight of the century was The Natural vs. The Last Emperor. This fight was so talked about and anticipated by fans worldwide that it divided the MMA community.
Rarely are there potential match ups that create rifts between fans like this one. Penn-St. Pierre comes to mind, Ortiz-Shamrock is another one. These are polarizing match ups for the sport and more importantly the fans.
While many fans carry their loyalties to this fighter or that, there are always going to be fighters out there that regardless of fan loyalties, we will choose a side and vehemently stick to it.
With rumors running absolutely rampant in the MMA world regarding the UFC’s on going negotiations with Fedor and his management team, the new topic has instantly become Lesnar-Emelianenko.
Please don’t misunderstand, while that is the pinnacle of potential for this sport, a living legend has a very long standing commitment to fighting The Last Emperor. That man is Randy Couture.
How quickly we forget. How soon we are willing to brush under the rug that which we begged for a little more than a year ago. Fans demanded this match, the UFC was unable to secure Fedor. Randy left to find Fedor on his own terms, amongst other financial discrepancies with the UFC.
It seemed we fans would finally get what it was we had been craving. Two of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport were doing away with red tape and were finally going to come to terms
Of course as we all know the UFC had other plans for Couture, up to and including him finishing out his contractual agreement with them to continue fighting under their brand.
That is all old news at this point. Randy has returned, and lost his belt to the future of the heavyweight division in Brock. One thing that can be said to offset the obvious loss is simply this. Until the TKO, Randy was doing quite well with the behemoth. At no point did he look over matched, or overpowered.
A loss is a loss and that will never change. Still though, Randy did everything possible under his means to oblige the fans and make Couture-Emelianenko happen. While it never materialized his efforts should not go without gratification.
Finally, finally, finally there is an ever so slight window of opportunity for it to happen, and happen soon. We foamed at the mouth for it, we tore each others hearts out over the potential outcome and their status as greats in this sport. We begged, no we demanded it.
Well what the hell has Randy done for us lately? Other than returning to face Lesnar, not much of anything. While he is slated to fight yet another legend in the sport Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, nothing else has transpired.
Unless you count we the people forgetting about one of the greatest potential fights in the history of the game. The Natural has always been destined to meet The Last Emperor. We have always known it. Sadly we have let our emotions and our rabid nature get the better of us.
Brock is not going anywhere I can assure you of that. Randy is closer to the end than he is to the beginning of his career. Are we to disregard the fact that he still has it in him to challenge Fedor? If you believe that you have not been paying attention to the man.
While nobody is a favorite against Fedor, Randy has one of the best chances of anyone that can be named at this very moment. Say what you will, but Randy has made a living of toppling odds, and beating men he was not meant to beat. I personally think he is still one of the only men who has the skill set to stop Brock.
This is not about those two though. Like his rapid ascent in the ranks of MMA, Brock has been pushed directly to the front of the possible Fedor opponents list. While I agree that would be a great fight, once in a while tenure must take precedence. Randy had dibs on Fedor, Brock did not.
If this was the schoolyard, Randy would go first and Brock would challenge the winner. While it may not be the schoolyard, we all know the score. Even if the most exciting thing to talk about is the potential match up of Brock and Fedor, Randy should really be the first prospective fight if Fedor really makes his way to the UFC.
That is not said just for the sake of argument, but for the sake of the history of the sport. As stated before, Brock is here to stay, Randy may be on his way out sooner than later. Randy-Fedor was one of the few unicorns of the sport that was never supposed to happen. It is closer now than it ever has been.
This is not to say that there is not perfect business sense, and a perfect storm of fan interest in the match of Brock and Fedor. It is understood and noted. For all intents and purposes this writer can not wait for that to transpire. Hopefully it does.
It is only to say that we finally have a chance to see a fight that has been eagerly anticipated and harshly debated longer than Brock has been an MMA fighter and we the people are willing to let it go.
Randy deserves this fight, Fedor deserves this fight, we deserve this fight. Lets not forget how important that was to us not so long ago just because a new force has made its way into the picture.