After suffered his second knockout loss to Chuck Liddell (and his second title bout loss in a row) at UFC 57, Randy Couture announced that he was retiring and moving on to greener pastures.
A little over a year later, Couture made another announcement, which in turn left many people scratching their heads.
Couture was going to go back to the division that had, once upon a time, proven that a skilled bigger man usually beats a skilled smaller man—Randy Couture was moving back to the heavyweight division to take on reigning champion, Tim Sylvia.
When Couture left the heavyweight division the last time, it was due to suffering two hard losses in a row to Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez.
Couture had found that dealing with men that large and athletic was too much for him to contend with, and thus he moved to light heavyweight.
Now, he was going back to heavyweight, to fight for the title against perhaps the biggest man he’d ever fight in his career.
No one expected this to be anything more than MMA’s version of Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes; Couture was going to get beaten up, probably badly, but he would get the answers he needed and could move on with his life.
Instead, Couture dropped Sylvia with a hard right hand seconds into the first round, then followed him to the mat, controlling the bigger man and landing punches all the way to the buzzer.
This was repeated for all five rounds, leaving Tim Sylvia with a swollen face and a sinking feeling that his glory days may have just been taken away from him by an “old man.”
With the victory, Couture became the first ever three-time UFC heavyweight champion, and if that isn’t a great way to make a comeback, then nothing is.