UFC: Couture vs. Fedor Closer Than Ever?

Derek BolenderSenior Analyst IMarch 6, 2008

The Fedor Emelianenko and Randy Couture saga reportedly has taken a drastic turn for the better. 

An ESPN: The Magazine article, written by Ryan Hockensmith, states that Fedor will be a free agent sometime within the next week. 


One of Fedor’s agents, Apy Echteld, has confirmed this fact and a public announcement of the split between Fedor and M-1 Global should be expected soon.

Once the divorce is finalized, Fedor will be able to negotiate with any other MMA organization he chooses, including the UFC. 

This should give Dana White another opportunity to sign Fedor and pursue a fight with the retired and disgruntled Randy Couture. 


Needless to say, signing Fedor to a contract would be a great way to mend the fences with Couture. 

Getting Fedor to sign a UFC contract, however, is no easy task.


The UFC and Fedor previously negotiated for nearly a year prior to him signing with M-1 Global in October 2007. 


Neither party was willing to give an inch.  It was reported that the majority of the dispute centered on Fedor wanting compete in a Sambo competition in his native Russia, which would not be allowed under a UFC contract.   

If Dana White is able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and set up a fight with Couture it would arguably be the greatest MMA fight of all-time. It would be a fight that thousands of MMA fans around the world have been waiting for. 

Randy “The Natural” Couture is a 5-time belt winner in the UFC, a UFC Hall of Famer, and one of only two fighters ever to hold UFC championship belts in two separate weight classes (light heavyweight and heavyweight). 

Couture is one of the most popular UFC fighters of all-time, and he sports a 16-8 lifetime record, including victories over former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, Jeremy Horn, and Gabriel Gonzaga. 

Fedor Emelianenko, on the other hand, is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and maybe the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. 


Since 2003, Fedor has been the PRIDE Heavyweight Champion until PRIDE’s recent demise. 


He sports an MMA record of 28 wins, 1 loss, and 1 no contest.  He holds notable wins over Heath Herring, Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Lindland, Renato Sobral, and the current UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira twice. 

The one loss Fedor suffered was in the King of Kings 2000 tournament against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. 


The fight lasted only seventeen seconds because Fedor was cut by an illegal elbow from Kohsaka that resulted in a doctor’s stoppage. 


It was a tournament format so there had to be a winner and a loser, therefore, Kohsaka controversially moved on in the tournament. 


A match-up between Couture and Fedor would truly be one for the ages.  It would be a fight replayed and talked about for years to come. 


Both parties have to realize the magnitude of this fight.  Both parties must put aside their differences for the good of MMA because this may be the last chance to put this super-fight together. 

The goods news is that for the first time in a long time, there seems to be an aura of optimism surrounding the possibility of this fight. 


I have faith in Dana White as a businessman that he will capitalize on the second chance he has been given.  I believe he will make this fight happen somehow someway. 


In the meantime, do the MMA world a favor and cross your fingers.