by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Former Pride and UFC interim heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has agreed to face former UFC heavyweight champ Randy Couture at UFC 101 in August.
Though a date can’t be confirmed at this time, multiple sources wishing to remain anonymous say the unannounced card is likely to take place in Portland, Ore.
MMAWeekly.com on Thursday reported that Couture had accepted an offer to face the Brazilian, his first fight since losing the heavyweight crown to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91. Nogueira has now reciprocated, although bout agreements have yet to be signed.
Couture turned down an offer to fight Nogueira in December of 2007 after resigning from the UFC in a contractual dispute. He remained heavyweight champion through his 11-month leave, while Nogueira defeated Tim Sylvia to win the interim heavyweight title at UFC 81.
Nogueira subsequently lost the title to Frank Mir in the second round of the UFC’s unofficial “heavyweight tournament,” with Couture losing his undisputed title at his UFC 91 return.
Couture was again offered a fight with the Brazilian in the first half of 2009, but an elbow surgery and obligations to the Sylvester Stallone-helmed “The Expendables” put the bout on the back burner. A widely rumored appearance at UFC 99 in Germany was also shelved due to the film.
Next month, Couture will begin filming the action flick alongside stars Mickey Rourke, Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and beleaguered California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sources indicate Nogueira may do the bulk of his fight training in Los Angeles, sharpening his boxing skills with boxing guru Freddie Roach.