Whether it’s his legal issues with the UFC or all the fighters competing under the Xtreme Couture banner, one might surmize that Randy Couture will one day be considered the most influential fighter to ever compete in the sport.
While everyone has had a chance to ask Couture about his issues with the UFC we tried to conduct an interview with him where we talked about everything BUT those problems. Sadly, we only lasted eight minutes and thirteen seconds. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Here’s a taste…
Ariel Helwani: I guess it’s now time to talk about those problems. A lot has been said about your departure from the UFC so I don’t want to recycle the same questions all over again but I am curious as to what you think about the Sylvia-Fedor rumored matchup. Honestly, are you a little disappointed that Fedor has agreed to this fight so closely to when you expected to be free from the UFC?
Randy Couture: Anything’s possible. Tim’s no slouch. He’s a seasoned veteran and it’s still a fight. Anything can happen. I don’t think anyone is going to count Tim out. I do think everyone is expecting Fedor to beat Tim but I think it will be a great fight. It will certainly give me an idea of where I stand since I just fought Tim last March. It will be interesting to see how Fedor deals with the interesting problems Tim poses as a fighter and as competitor. I am not terribly concerned (though). Things will work out the way they work out. I will probably be free and clear sometime in July if the courts go the way we think they are going to go and whatever happens happens. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about these things.
Ariel Helwani: Did Fedor’s management team talk to you before talking to Sylvia?
Randy Couture: Well, I know he doesn’t want to wait around. He wants to fight and make a living. He is not going to want to sit around and wait to see what happens with me. He just fought on New Year’s against Hong Man Choi and he has taken some heat for not fighting anyone in the top ten but this fight is definitely against a top ten guy in Tim Sylvia. But does the fight lose luster should Fedor lose? I don’t know, it probably changes things but I think the fans will still want to see it. They still wanted to see Wanderlei and Chuck and both guys were coming off losses.
Ariel Helwani: So, for the record, you would still be interested in fighting Fedor even if he losses to Sylvia?
Randy Couture: Yeah, I would still be interested in competing against him but, again, I want to be considered the number one heavyweight in the world but, if he loses to Tim, that piece of the puzzle kind of goes away. So then what happens? Does Tim move up and become number one? Do we need to settle it again between Tim and I? Who knows what really happens. Maybe nothing! Maybe I’ll just walk away…
Ariel Helwani: It certainly opens things up a little bit and then you have to think about Minotauro moving up in the rankings since he just beat Sylvia. Would you then consider fighting him?
Randy Couture: I think that (Nogueira) is a fantastic fighter. I have watched him compete and have been ringside for several of his fights. He has an amazing ability to survive and get fights where he can find a way to win. My only concern or drawback to that whole scenario is that it would have to be with the UFC and I just can’t see going back and fighting for the UFC at this point with all the things that Dana has said and all the things that have happened…they have pretty much sealed that deal.
Ariel Helwani: Are you surprised that Fedor split from M-1 Global less than six months after we all thought he had signed with them?
Randy Couture: I wasn’t surprised. Everyone had heard rumors and inklings that (M-1) was kind of a shell and that there wasn’t a lot of money to get Fedor signed and outside of Fedor they didn’t seem to have a lot of other things going on. Outside of Fedor, there seemed to be an internal power struggle between the investors and Monte Cox and the Russians. There was kind of this whole rocky landscape and everyone wasn’t really surprised that it didn’t work out.
Ariel Helwani: What if Fedor would end up with the UFC, would you then consider returning?
Randy Couture: I think if this whole thing has pointed out one thing to me it’s that I have an opportunity to control my own destiny a little bit and, potentially, through this process, change the way the fighters are paid and the way things are done in MMA and those are important things for me as a fighter. There are a lot of guys that are still scratching out a living and all the cards are held by the promotions. And, certainly, the most powerful promotion in the landscape is the UFC. So, would I say “never will I fight for the UFC,” well, I am not going to say “never” because there are circumstances where things could change but that’s the way I feel right now.