Now that Fedor Emelianenko has signed with Strikeforce, I think Randy Couture should send him a thank you card.
While Couture has stated many times that he would love nothing more than to fight Fedor, the stars have now aligned to give the aging fighter either an opportunity or a huge pay day.
Couture will complete the second of a three-fight contract when he faces Rodrigo Nogueira on Aug. 29 at UFC 102. He'll then likely go into negotiations with the UFC since they're unlikely to let him finish out his contract without a new contract or extension in place.
When Couture left the UFC in 2007 he was their reigning heavyweight champion. Since the UFC has an ironclad "champions clause" which locks the champ into a contract while they hold the belt, it was all but impossible for Couture to fight elsewhere.
After a long legal battle, Couture finally decided that he had wasted enough time fighting in the courts and decided to return to the octagon.
Now that he's no longer the heavyweight champion nor likely to become it again Couture could cut ties more easily with the UFC and fight his dream fight against Fedor under the Strikeforce banner.
I'm not sure this is likely to happen, but it is a possibility. Couture has a huge vested interest in the UFC, especially now that his Xtreme Couture clothing line can once again be worn by fighters in the octagon.
Also Couture garners exposure for his gyms and fighters every time his name is mentioned during UFC broadcasts.
He could also continue his post fighting career with the UFC through a role as a commentator or as an ambassador of the sport and company.
The other indicator that Couture might not attempt to leave the UFC again are his statements that the UFC and Strikeforce are now "at war" since Strikeforce's signing of the Last Emperor.
Regardless of how this plays out, Couture's bargaining power has never been stronger. The simple threat of him bringing his star power to Strikeforce is enough to get him his asking price as well as fights for either the heavyweight and or light heavyweight titles.