Former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy “The Natural” Couture has been in the news lately mainly for his upcoming role in the action blockbuster “The Expendables” but also looming on the future for Couture is a UFC heavyweight bout against multiple-time boxing champion James “Lights Out” Toney. Couture and Toney will square off this August 28th at UFC 118 in Boston, Massachusetts and, seemingly whether or not he wins, Couture plans to return back to the light heavyweight division where he intends to make at least one more run for the title before his career is over. Couture has mentioned several times that his main goal at this point in his career is to take on interesting opponents in high-profile fights and two such fights may await him in the 205 lbs. division; fights against Brazilian dynamos UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and former UFC Light HEavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida, which “The Natural” told SB Nation recently that he would jump at the chance to take.
Couture is quick to give props to Silva, a man many believe to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world, but believes that, based on some of his recent performances, he can be beaten and that Silva’s next opponent, Chael Sonnen, may get around to doing that before Couture ever gets his chance.
“I definitely think being tentative and standing around allowing him to find his rhythm and range is a mistake,” said Couture. “Obviously he’s a tremendous striker and he’s got great accuracy and power. He uses those long arms to set up his exchanges, and if you allow him to find that reach he’s going to make you pay. I think the style Chael Sonnen brings to this fight on [August] 7th will give Anderson trouble. He’s not going to try to stand with him, he’ll cut right to the chase and try to get his hands on him. If he can do that without getting caught with something on the way in, he can make it a rough night for Anderson. It should be interesting.”
Couture reiterated his desire to return to the light heavyweight division after he takes on Toney and mentioned that he would be interested in taking on the UFC Middleweight Champion (who has fought at 205 twice in the UFC) whom he sees as possibly having lost a step in recent fights.
“I’m definitely interested at fighting at 205. I think Anderson would be a great fight,” Couture said. “I’m not sure what his perspective has been the last couple of times, though. I think since the Cote fight he’s taken on a different style and hasn’t been as explosive, not trying to finish fights early on. I don’t know if it’s concerning, but it’s interesting where he’s coming from with that. He certainly still has that capability. Maia, Cote, he could have finished those guys if he wanted to take the risk, so I’m not sure what’s going on where he doesn’t want to step up and take that risk. I think he’s a fantastic fighter, and if that’s someone they want me to compete against I’d be all over that.”
Initially when he re-entered the light heavyweight division, Couture had expressed great interest in taking on then-champion and unsolvable riddle Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Now that Machida has lost his belt to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, one might think that a bout against Machida has lost its luster in Couture’s eyes but “The Natural” maintains that he would still be interested in taking on the former champion.
“He’s a whole other animal,” Couture said of Machida. “I was very impressed with his fights, and he’s got a very unique style. Obviously, Shogun, I think, figured out how to solve that problem twice. I thought he won the first fight as well. He’s still a great fighter and another one that would be interesting to fight.”
Before Couture can have a chance to face either man he will have to take on James Toney in the co-main event of UFC 118 under UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn’s lightweight title fight rematch. The fight will take place at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and will also likely feature newly signed UFC welterweight Jake Shields’ debut fight for the promotion against Dutch fighter Martin Kampmann.