by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
“This is the last time you’re going to see these gloves or these shorts in this Octagon. I’m retiring tonight. I’d like to thank the fans for all their support. That’s it for me. I’m ready to do something else.”
And with that quote all of the members of the MMA community collectively said farewell to Captain America, Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. Couture fans worldwide hung up their Team Quest sock hats and put away their prized ‘Captain America’ t-shirts, and came to terms with the fact that Randy was finished…or so we thought.
And then the news of his return rang out on every MMA forum and Web site in existence. “Couture returns to face the Maine-iac for the UFC Heavyweight championship!”
That’s right…Saturday night Randy Couture will face the biggest challenge that he’s faced in his career – literally. At 6’8″, Tim Sylvia is the biggest man currently employed by the UFC and if that’s not enough, he’s not a wrestler or a submission fighter; he’s a knockout artist.
Every time Sylvia employs his ‘Go-Go Gadget-like’ right hand and it connects with its target, the fight ends. Just ask Andre Arlovski, Wesley “Cabbage” Correira, Ricco Rodriguez, Gan McGee, Tra Telligman (via Bigfoot head kick at least) and Wes Sims what happens when Sylvia lands that right and they’ll tell all you – that is if they can even remember what transpired the night they fought big Tim.
But somewhere in Tim’s game lies a hole that Couture has seen and is confident that he can capitalize on.
Randy said, “I view this more as a style match up and I think my style matches up well with his. I think his last two performances – especially his performance against Jeff Monson – was conservative and lackluster, but uh…overall he got the job done.”
Couture is going to go into this fight and try to bully the much larger Sylvia. The idea sounds great in concept, but if Couture had trouble bullying Liddell at 205…how does he plan to manhandle the much larger Sylvia?
Randy said, “I don’t think it’s any secret…I’m not going to try to stand and box it out with Tim. I think the key is to get past his hands, get to his body and make him work from there…keep a high pace and a lot of pressure on him and wear him down.”
Regardless of the outcome at UFC 68, one thing will remain the same. Randy Couture is as consummate a competitor as any athlete from any sport that I’ve ever seen. Couture knows that this challenge is one of the greatest of his career, but previously Randy has thrived as the underdog who had little or no chance of success.
So, when the talk is over and both men stand across from one another in the cage, what can fans expect to see?
“It’s going to be a war,” Couture said.