Former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture and former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are set to square off against one another at UFC 101.
Couture has already verbally agreed to the fight and the UFC is currently waiting to hear back from Nogueira who has stated his desire to face Couture multiple times in the past and again after his loss to Frank Mir last December.
“For sure I would accept this fight against Randy Couture,” said Nogueira at a UFC 92 post fight press conference. “He’s a great fighter. He just lost his last match but he’s a true legend in this sport and I’d love to fight him. It would be a good promotion. We’re both very experienced fighters and it would be a nice match.”
Both fighters are coming off losses which saw each drop their piece of the UFC heavyweight championship title.
Couture, who was defeated by Brock Lesnar via TKO, lost the UFC championship belt and Nogueira saw his interim title snached by Frank Mir, who defeated the popular Brazilian via second round TKO.
The four men were part of what UFC president Dana White termed a “heavyweight tournament” which sought to sift throught the confusion left in the division after then champion Randy Couture departed early last year due to a contract dispute. The promotion promptly held an interim championship match up between Nogueira and Tim Sylvia in response to Couture’s departure; a match up in which Nogueira won with a thrilling submission after taking quite a beating.
After the UFC and Couture mended fences later in the year, the promotion was left with two champions, a heavyweight champion and an interim heavyweight champion. It was decided that a tournament between the title holders and the divisions top two contenders, Mir and Lesnar, would be held to determine an overall champion. Mir and Lesnar defeated Nogueira and Couture, respectively, and will now face one another for the UFC heavyweight championship.
It’s only fitting that the men they defeated, two legends of the sport, will now face off against one another in what’s sure to be a classic battle.
UFC 101 will take place sometime in August according to reports and is likely headed for Portland, Oregon. We’ll have more on this story as it continues to develop.