Rumors that Randy Couture might be headlining UFC 91 in Portland may be extremely far-fetched, but they picked up a little more heat yesterday evening with a report published by MMA Junkie, which said that The Natural is willing to fight once more in the UFC, possibly before the end of the year, as part of an out-of-court settlement with the organization; Couture would want to be completely free of his UFC contract after the fight.
Excited? Don’t be. There’s no indication that the UFC is even considering this offer. We already know that Dana White likes to screw with his fighters as much as possible when they try to leave him. And according to Bloody Elbow’s Michael Rome, Couture’s negotiation tactic is nothing new:
In June, when the UFC was desperate for a London main event replacement for Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture supposedly made an offer to fight Nogueira if he would be allowed to leave and fight elsewhere immediately after. The UFC turned it down. I don’t believe they are any more likely to accept the settlement now, especially with an arbitration decision about to be handed down.
One problem with Couture doing a final sendoff fight in the UFC is that he’s still technically their heavyweight champion, which raises some logistical issues. He probably wouldn’t get to face interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, because if Couture wins, he leaves the league with the belt — a situation which the UFC goes to great legal lengths to prevent from ever happening. If Randy is allowed back in for one more go — and I’m not saying this will happen, I’m just saying — he’d probably be stripped of his title then set up in a big-name fight against someone like Brock Lesnar. Not only would Couture/Lesnar be a PPV bunker-buster, but as it turns out, Lesnar’s previously rumored next opponent may be on ice for a while. On the latest episode of MMA Live, ESPN The Magazine‘s Ryan Hockensmith reveals that Cheick Kongo is planning to have shoulder surgery soon to correct a problem that had been bothering him even before his last fight against Dan Evensen, and he won’t be able to fight again this year. Sure Cheick, we believe you…