Couture Claims Fight With CroCop Was Almost Set For UFC 122
By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
After successfully defending the sport of MMA in the promotionally themed "UFC vs. boxing" co-main event in Boston on Saturday night, Randy Couture stopped by the ESPN television set for an appearance on their special "MMA Live" broadcast.
"Captain America" discussed his game plan for his near-flawless victory over boxing legend James Toney
at UFC 118. Couture shared a lot of the same insight into his preparation and execution of what we saw in the cage at the TD Garden as he did during the UFC 118 post-fight press conference [video here]
immediately after the big event. Where "The Natural" raised some eyebrows during his "MMA Live" appearance is when the discussion shifted to his plans for the future in the UFC. After facing the obligatory "how much longer can you do this?" age-related questions, Couture spoke about how he takes things one fight at a time, noting that the UFC continues to keep things interesting for him, consistently giving him the motivation to keep things going. In what seems like a note worth mentioning, Couture spoke at one point during the interview about how he was talking to the UFC about a potential fight against Croation kickboxing and MMA legend Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic.
Couture claimed the proposed fight was looking likely for the UFC event in November in Germany (UFC 122) prior to the offer for a James Toney fight that came out of nowhere, as well as the situation surrounding Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's injury
, which lead to CroCop filling in at UFC 119
for what will be the main event of the next pay-per view, a heavyweight battle against former champion Frank Mir. The CroCop-Mir bout remains official for UFC 119 in Indianapolis, and UFC 122 received a new main event this weekend in the form of a middleweight title eliminator between Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami
, but the fact remains, Couture's mention of a fight with CroCop raises a few questions.
First, with the exception of skipping the weight-cutting process to enable a unique match against Toney possible, Couture has made it pretty clear that he is a light heavyweight fighter. If that's the case, why was he entertaining a heavyweight contest with a fighter not even ranked in the top ten
of the division. Couture's only non-main event fight in nearly ten years, outside of a single mandatory "bounce-back" fight against Mike Van Arsdale in 2005 (which he took simply to set up a title rematch against Chuck Liddell, which went on to be his very next fight) came against Toney on Saturday in Boston. So why would Couture seriously consider a return to heavyweight for a fight against a non-top ten opponent?