With every day its becoming clearer that the sun is setting on Randy Couture’s mixed martial arts career. Talking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Couture made it clear that his focus was moving away from the Octagon saying that “I think I’m going to definitely focus on making some more movies and heading in that direction”. While Couture made it clear that he was open to fighting if the opponent was “interesting” he put the chances of him not fighting at all in 2011 as being as high as 70%!
The problem with Couture’s career ever since he lost to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is that its lacked purpose. That defeat moved him out of world title contention in the heavyweight division and the drop down to the stacked 205 Ibs has seen Couture lost in the shuffle. His fight against Brandon Vera did disappointing ratings on Spike TV and against Mark Coleman he bombed on PPV. The move to light heavyweight just doesn’t seem to be clicking, possibly due to it seeming like a retread of what he’s already achieved. What Couture needs is a new challenge, and that challenge should be to become the first-ever three-weight champion in MMA.
Along with BJ Penn and Dan Henderson, Randy Couture is part of the elite group of two-weight world champions. What nobody has ever done in MMA is win a world title in three divisions, indeed nobody has even tried. Randy Couture is surely best placed to achieve this. For somebody who has spent so much of his career at heavyweight, Couture is surprisingly small. At 29 years old he competed at 190Ibs in the NCAA wrestling finals and at 6ft 1inch and 220Ibs he’s not much bigger than many of the fighters who reside at the top of the middleweight division. Given this, it would surely possible for Couture to get down to 185Ibs without too much hardship.
Should he be able to make the weight then Couture has a far better chance at excelling than he would at 205Ibs. Unlike the light heavyweight division, Couture matches up well against virtually all the major contender. Other than Chael Sonnen (who is currently on hiatus until his appeal against his positive drugs test is heard) nobody else in the division has the wrestling skills to compete with the former All-American and Olympic Alternate. That’s particularly true of the champion Anderson Silva who has struggled against wrestlers, being repeatedly taken down by Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. Against Henderson, Silva relied on superior conditioning to tire his opponent out whilst Sonnen’s infamously bad submission defense allowed the champion to secure a last-gasp victory. Against Couture he would have neither advantage, with Couture having the conditioning and the submission defense to confidently and constantly push the action with his wrestling for twenty-five minutes. Other than George St. Pierre, Randy Couture may be the fighter stylistically best suited to push Anderson Silva to his absolute limit at 185Ibs.
Randy Couture dropping down to middleweight would add some much needed starpower to the UFC’s weakest division. It would open up the possibility of a dream match against Wanderlei Silva and even a fourth installment in Couture’s longstanding rivalry with Vitor Belfort. But above all it would be a challenge that would give the greatest career in the history of mixed martial arts the grandstand finish it deserves.
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva