First, this is purely fictional. I understand that Randy Couture is retired and will realistically never fight again. But, anything is possible and this fight almost happened once.
If we rewind to 2007, Fedor Emelianenko was still on his famous win-streak having never lost his Pride heavyweight title. The Last Emperor was a machine in his prime. He was tactical, durable and relentless in his attack. Plain and simple—he won fights. Whoever was put in front of Fedor, lost.
His aura of invincibility made him a legend. But, there were still challenges that he had not embraced for one or another reason. One dream bout for Mixed Martial Arts' fans was a collision with then UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, a Hall of Fame fighter in his own right. Because of a contract dispute in the numbers, it suddenly looked as if Randy Couture would be fighting Fedor and for a brief glorious moment the clouds parted and a dream bout fell into our laps.
But, in the end it was a dream that would not come true. Randy was contracted to the UFC plain and simple. So he could not break that contract by fighting Fedor elsewhere—but in the Octagon. M-1 successfully botched an amazing opportunity to enhance their brand and line their pockets by not putting Fedor in the UFC in 2008.
They could have used the UFC and its marketing machine to make millions, introduce the United States fan base to M-1 Global and to get the fights that everyone wanted to see. Instead, this bout never happened and Fedor never made it to the UFC.
In 2011, Fedor took a further slide in his now infamous decline out of the top-tier heavyweight picture. He was beaten soundly in 2010 by Fabricio Werdum by submission. Then the next year, he was beaten so badly by Antonio Silva that the doctor intervened. Lastly, he had been knocked out by Dan Henderson. It wasn't the best year for the former recognized pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet.
Randy "the Natural" Couture entered last year on a three-fight win-streak amid rumors of a title contention—once again at an impossible age for any lesser man. He wanted a fight and he was given one at the historic UFC 129 event in Toronto, that broke the MMA attendance record for North America. His opponent would be Lyoto Machida.
Randy had seemed primed to defy the odds one last time. But, it was not meant to be. Captain America went out on his shield as the victim of one of the most epic knockouts in UFC history. Machida caught Couture completely off guard with a leaping crane-kick that knocked the legend violently to the floor. He would not get up. The fight was over.
Couture retired and an era had ended. Like Chuck Liddell before him, Couture walked away from the sport that made him a legend in his own era.
Fedor ended 2011 with two wins over respectable, but clearly outmatched opposition. It was a clear indication that Fedor was going to stop fighting on any serious level soon. The end may be very near for the legendary Russian as well.
A Viable Option
Randy Couture hopped on the opportunity to get back in the UFC when they gave him a big fight on Pay-Per-View with Brock Lesnar. He flew across the world to film an action movie. He fought in the UFC before he even knew one bit about what it meant to be a mixed martial artist.
The point I'm trying to make is that he is an opportunist. I think Fedor is too. I also think there is some sense in making this a legend's retirement one-night-only farewell bout. That was quite a mouthful, but you get the point.
Below is a possible scenario that has little chance of actually happening. What makes this a viable option is that it would greatly benefit all parties involved in sheer dollars because this fight would sell like hotcakes.
- Fedor signs to fight Bobby Lashley under the Dream banner in Tokyo, Japan on March 17, 2012.
- Randy Couture finishes final publicity tour and premiere-week appearances for feature film The Expendables on April 1, 2012.
- MMA outlets tout Fedor's return to form. Randy Couture says in an interview with the Sagerville Sun that he could still beat Fedor—April 11, 2012.
- After a three-fight win-streak Fedor and M-1 Global sign modest three-fight deal, and he immediately requests to honor the challenge presented by Randy Couture on May 3, 2012.
- Randy Couture says he is healed, still in great shape and training. He indicates that his next film does not begin production for "some time." May 24, 2012.
- HDNet's Inside MMA breaks the news that Randy Couture has signed a one-fight-only deal with Pay-Per-View bonuses and performance incentives, as well as a merchandising agreement on May 27, 2012.
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture is confirmed for UFC 150—August 25, 2012 for Madison Square Garden in the newly regulated state of New York, New York. The fight is a truly epic affair. The winner is—.