JarryPark’s 15 Moments Of ’07 – #5 & #4: Superman Returns…Then Departs

Everyone loves a countdown list so here’s ours: The top 15 combat sports moments of 2007. For the entire list click here.

#5 & #4 : Superman Returns…Then Departs
What: Randy Couture returns to the UFC and captures their Heavyweight title. Seven months later, he resigns from the company vowing to never fight for them again.
Where: Columbus, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada
When: March 3, 2007 – October 11, 2007

There was no way we could divide these two stories apart. For the record, we have slotted Couture’s title victory of Tim Sylvia as the fifth biggest moment and his resignation from the UFC as the fourth. The reason for this is that most believed Couture would eventually return to fight at least one more time following his first retirement in February 2006 (at least I did). There were rumors that he would even challenge Tito Ortiz if he would have beaten Chuck Liddell for the UFC Light Heavyweight title at UFC 66. Obviously that never happened but once an opportunity materialized to challenge Sylvia at UFC 68 for his Heavyweight crown, Couture jumped all over it. While it probably won’t be remembered as the greatest technical MMA fight of all-time no other bout has ever possessed the kind of emotion Couture-Sylvia had. There’s just something about Randy, I guess. After defeating Sylvia, Couture knocked off Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74. Another inspiring victory and this time he finished off his opponent with a broken arm. At 44-years-old, Randy Couture was sitting firmly atop the MMA world.

However, less than two months later, the honeymoon would end for the UFC and Couture. Whether it had anything to do with the UFC’s inability to sign Fedor Emalianenko, Couture’s contract or something else – we will never know. But, regardless the reason, you would be hard-pressed to find one soul who actually believed that by the end of 2007 Randy Couture and the UFC would be on the outs.

I am always surprised at how many similarities exist between the UFC and WWE not to mention Dana White and Vince McMahon. And, if you think about it, this spat is very reminisicnent of the Hogan-McMahon breakup of the early 90s. Much like most wrestling divorces McMahon and Hogan would make up and agree to work together again (too much money to be made, brother). But I have a feeling that this saga will end differently. In fact, why do I get the feeling that August 25, 2007 may have been the last time we ever see Couture compete in an MMA match again?

Further Enlightenment:
He’s Back- Couture Returns To Face Sylvia at UFC 68 [UFC]
Not Bad For An Old Man”…Couture Wins! [MMA Weekly]
‘Disenchanted’ Couture Resigns From UFC [ESPN]

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