by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture has stated that he is “going to have to come out of retirement” if Tito Ortiz defeats Chuck Liddell for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title at UFC 66 on December 30th.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle’s Steve Sievert, the 43-year-old Couture predicted that Liddell would likely beat Ortiz, but he added, “If Tito finds a way to beat Chuck, I’m going to have to come out of retirement and give Tito a whack.” The Chronicle article added, “Asked if he was serious about lacing up the gloves again to fight Ortiz, Couture responded with an emphatic ‘absolutely.’”
Prior to Couture’s statements in the Houston Chronicle interview, it was widely believed that the next shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Title would be going to Forrest Griffin if he is successful in defeating Keith Jardine on the Liddell-Ortiz undercard. The next title shot could also go to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, particularly if Liddell beats Ortiz, but the UFC will likely want to give Jackson one non-title match before he fights for the title.
If Couture were to come out of retirement, a rematch against Ortiz would make more sense than a rematch with Liddell, as Couture has fought Liddell three times but has only fought Ortiz once.
Couture, who is the only fighter to have ever won both the UFC Heavyweight Title and the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, defeated Ortiz by unanimous decision in a one-sided fight in 2003.
Couture has a full trilogy already in the books with Liddell, as Couture won the first fight between the two fighters in 2003, lost the second fight in 2005, and lost the third fight of the trilogy in February 2006.
After the loss to Liddell in February, Couture announced that he was retiring from the sport. The Wrestling Observer reported at the time that Couture had made the decision prior to the third Liddell fight that he was going to retire after the fight— win, lose, or draw. The Observer also reported at the time that UFC president Dana White did not believe that Couture would actually retire, and that White later attempted to negotiate with Couture in an effort to convince him to come out of retirement.
Couture competed at a submission grappling event in November, grappling to a draw with highly regarded Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, but he has not fought under MMA rules since retiring from MMA in February.
Since his retirement, Couture has become a semi-regular part of the UFC’s announcing crew as a color commentator. Couture also made an appearance on the hit CBS comedy King of Queens, and he will be one of the athletes on the second season of Pros vs. Joes on Spike TV, which premieres on January 25, 2007 after UFC Fight Night 8.