A Day Late and A Dollar Short: Couture Vs. Nogueira
On August 29, 2009 at the Rose Garden Arena in OR , MMA fans will be treated to a heavyweight “dream fight”—Randy “The Natural” Couture vs. Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira. This is a war between two of the greatest heavyweight juggernauts in MMA history. A war that fans were dying to see… eight years ago.
The question is this: With both fighters coming off of losses (Couture to Lesnar; Nogueira to Mir), and the fact that “The Natural” is the ripe young age of 46, is this still a “dream fight”?
The reason for the UFC’s decision to make this matchup the main event of the fast approaching UFC 102, has eluded many fans. It is probably fair to say that the loser of this fight will, for all intents and purposes, be finished with the UFC.
It is already clear to most fight fanatics that neither of these athletes will work their way back up to a championship fight. Another thing that’s pretty clear to most fans is that even if the winner of Couture vs. Nogueira did end up getting a title fight somewhere down the road, Lesnar would walk out of the cage with the belt that he walked in with.
So, why make this fight the main event? Is it simply because folks love to see Randy fight? Could it, in part, be that he’ll be fighting in an arena full of rabid fans from his own backyard?
Sure—people will enjoy seeing these guys go toe-to-toe, even though it comes a day late and a dollar short. The problem is the relevance of the fight—or, better said, the lack thereof.
Shane Carwin, who is Lesnar’s size, has the best chance of the UFC’s current heavyweights at beating Brock Lesnar, and will get his chance at UFC 106. Lesnar will finally have to pick on someone his own size. This will be Lesnar’s first such experience in MMA.
It will be fun to watch because, no matter how big a fan you are of Brock Lesnar, the fact remains that he is, without a doubt, the least knowledgeable of the UFC’s active fighters. The guy got where he is because he’s an enormous physical specimen who some believe is part caveman—and that’s the only reason.
Now, to share a few of the writer’s opinions:
First, I am as much a Randy Couture fan as anyone. I think he’s incredible, and I’ve learned the same lesson that all followers of MMA have learned: You should never underestimate this guy. Never. The fact is, though it may seem contradictory with some of the other things written in this article, I would like to see him fight Lesnar again. He’s so intelligent, and he’s such an incredible athlete, that you can never rule him out. He could step into the cage at 67 years of age, wearing Depends under his fight shorts, and people would still put money on him.
The point is I am not disrespecting “The Natural.”
Still, when was the last time a UFC’s main event was not a title fight, and was not between two major contenders for a belt? The last one I can recall is UFC 60: Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie. That was a novelty fight, much like this one is.
Finally, in spite of the overall insignificance of UFC 102’s main event, it’s still an affair that I’ll pay to see. Why? Well, it will still be an entertaining fight. More importantly, I want to see Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva, Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt, Demian Maia vs. anybody (in this case Nate Marquardt) and especially Brandon Vera Vs. Krzysztof Soszynski.
Also, Gabriel Gonzaga and Ed Herman each have fights on the undercard. So, it’s an event with its share of interesting and entertaining matchups—it just happens to be one with a perplexing main event.
Until next time,
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