by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
When Brock Lesnar signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the former collegiate wrestling champion and former professional wrestling superstar said he wanted to fight the top heavyweights. He was serious.
At UFC 91 on Nov. 15 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Lesnar will face Randy “The Natural” Couture for the UFC heavyweight belt in only his fourth mixed martial arts bout and third time in the Octagon.
“I’ve wanted a fight with Randy since before I signed a contract with the UFC,” Lesnar told the media on Tuesday.
Despite his inexperience and Couture’s year-long layoff from competition, expectations are high that the match-up will generate record numbers. “We actually do research on these things if you can believe it or not,” said UFC president Dana White.
“Obviously Randy Couture coming back after all of the stuff that had happened. He’s one of the most popular fighters every in UFC history. And after Brock Lesnar’s beating of Heath Herring a lot of people are interested in Brock Lesnar now and not just WWE fans. But if you look at the amount of buzz and energy that will be created through this fight… When we really start breaking it down and looking at it, and the amount of WWE fans that would probably never watch a UFC that will that night to see if Brock Lesnar can beat Randy Couture… It’s a big fight.”
“From day one my whole goal was to take it one fight at a time and that’s exactly what you have to do to get to the top,” said Lesnar. “I’m very excited. Not a lot of people get this opportunity. But not a lot of people are me either. I had to win against Heath Herring, and that puts me in this spot.
“It’s kind of ironic,” commented the 280-pound heavyweight about how the bout came together. “After I fought Heath Herring, (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and I were walking at the press conference, and he was like, we’re thinking about having you fight in November. And I’m like (expletive), all I’m thinking about is taking my wife and getting on my Harley and heading to Wyoming.
“While I’m in Wyoming they propose this fight against Cheick Kongo. I’m like, uh, that’s fine. I’ll fight whoever. Then I’m sitting on my motorcycle and I have a split second thought of I wonder what the hell it would take to get Randy Couture back in business again, and I’d really like to fight Randy. And then the thought never crossed my mind. Like, six days later, Dana calls and says, ‘hey, what about Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title?’ I’m like, ‘I’m in. Where do I sign?'”
“I think Randy’s a smart guy. He knows how to fight at heavyweight,” stated Lesnar. “Trying to compare me to Tim Sylvia or Gonzaga is like apples and oranges. Randy understands that he’s up against a different beast in this fight.”
Couture will have a distinctive advantage in experience over Lesnar, but Lesnar will be coming in with a 40-pound weight advantage. “Randy said earlier today that he’s going to come in at 225 pounds. Well, I’m coming in at 265 pounds, so there’s a huge weight difference,” said the challenger. ” He’s a smart guy. He’s going to train to beat me and I’m going to train to beat him, so we’re both on the same page when it comes to that.
“I’m going up against a guy that’s a lot more experienced than myself, which I have done every time since I’ve been in (MMA). We’re not dummies here either. We’re going to figure out how to beat Randy Couture just like we figured out how to beat Heath Herring. I will come into this fight well prepared and with a game plan to win the title that night.”
With Couture’s return to the UFC, a lot of attention has been paid to the unlikelihood of a match up between Couture and Fedor Emelianenko ever happening and Lesnar is tired of hearing about the consensus No. 1 heavyweight in the world. “I’m hearing all this talk about Fedor Emelianenko. Who gives a (expletive) about Fedor? I don’t care. I’m fighting Randy Couture,” said an agitated Lesnar.
“I don’t give a damn about Fedor. I’m tired of hearing about (expletive) Fedor. Randy Couture is fighting Brock Lesnar Nov. 15. His number one concern should be Brock Lesnar. And Dana White could care less about Fedor. Everyone is beating around the bush. Yeah, you want that fight. I don’t give a damn. I’m sick and tired of sitting on the phone listening about Fedor. He’s not with the company. He might not ever be with the company.
“This is what’s happening,” commanded Lesnar. “I don’t know how many times you’ve got to say it. This is for real. This fight is going to happen. Randy Couture and Fedor, it might not ever happen, but this fight is going to happen.”
Despite the agitation in fielding questions and comments regarding Fedor, Lesnar has no trouble seeing his fortune in attaining a bout against Randy Couture so early on in his MMA career. “Things happen in mysterious ways. And like I said, I’m fortunate. I’m honored to get in the Octagon with Randy, so it’s very exciting all the way around.
“A win over Randy Couture for Brock Lesnar, that solidifies me as someone who is the UFC heavyweight champion after that… I’ve never turned down any fights that Dana has offered me. This is a super-fight. This is a fight that puts me closer to being the UFC heavyweight champion.”