Randy Couture and Rodrigo Nogueira headline UFC 102 in Portland on Saturday night in a legends of MMA heavyweight match-up, but the two veteran fighters know it’s a number one contender’s bout with a title shot just over the horizon for the victor.
“That’s been tossed around,” Couture told the media on Wednesday when asked about the winner getting a possible championship bout with the winner between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, who headline UFC 106 on Nov. 21.
“When the dust settles they’ll decide what they want to do. Everybody is talking about 205 and this, that and the other thing. That stuff will all be there. It will take care of itself, but it sounds like this may be a title elimination type of deal where it will put us back in the number one contenders status.”
The three-time UFC heavyweight champion and two-time UFC light heavyweight titleholder has not ruled out the possibility of moving back to the 205-pound division. Asked about a potential match up with UFC middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva in the light heavyweight division, Couture commented, “I am intrigued by interesting fights and it certainly doesn’t get more interesting than that.”
At 46 years old, Couture continues to defy Father Time, and says he’s never felt better.
“As far as athletically, I feel like I’m the best athlete I’ve ever been right now. I can’t explain that other than I’ve just managed to keep a fairly high fitness level, stayed focused,” said the former assistant wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach for Oregon State University. “I think as we get older we tend to get smarter and eliminate a lot things that are distractions and refine training tactics and technique.
“I think I’ve tactically and technically gotten a lot better. I’m a more fit athlete than I was when I started this 12 years ago.”