There is a reason that one of Mixed Martial Art's biggest ambassadors was once nicknamed "Captain America."
Randy Couture, like Captain America, really has no super powers.
He doesn't have that one knockout punch. The Natural was not blessed with lightning-quick submission reflexes.
One thing he was blessed with, though, was heart.
Mixed martial arts' leader is a tactician. Like the Marvel character before him, he continues to defy odds. He is a survivor that defies human existence. He has the character of a true leader.
When the going gets tough, Randy Couture keeps moving forward.
That's why when he proclaimed late last year that it was either retirement or facing Maurício "Shogun" Rua or Lyoto Machida, there was purpose. Captain America had answered the call against MMA's biggest foe—boxing. With the evil James Toney behind him, there was only one beckoning call.
To prove his standing as the best practitioner in the history of the sport.
There is no doubt that when Randy Couture enters the ring at Toronto's Rogers Centre in April at UFC 129, he will be considered the underdog. The 47-year-old himself has claimed that he is "at the end of it." Though he is on a three-fight winning streak since re-joining the light heavyweight division in 2009, "The Natural" has been criticized for his fight style.
Can Randy Couture pull of a win at UFC 129?
Many would argue that his unanimous decision win against Brandon Vera at UFC 105 ended with the wrong hand being raised.
Others would point to former boxing heavyweight James Toney as a "throw away" opponent.
No matter what anyone thinks, when the cage closes and both Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture engage in Toronto, Captain America is going to take The Dragon to the pushing point. Whether it be his dirty boxing, consistent clinching, or all-out endurance, the 47-year-old Couture knows how to get fighters to linger on that fine line between make or break.
And once he gets you there he is relentless.
Lyoto Machida is swimming in waters he's never been in before. After starting his MMA career 16-0 and garnishing the UFC light heavyweight title, the Brazilian karate striker is coming off two devastating losses to current champion Maurício "Shogun" Rua and Quentin "Rampage' Jackson. Just as for Couture, this fight has a lot of meaning. Machida, like many in this sport, has devoted his life to being the very best in the world.
Like Couture, he has been considered "boring" by the fans. Both have earned a majority of their wins by decision. Both have been considered strategy-based fighters. Both are freaks in the art of taking care of their body. While one is training and teaching some of the best mixed martial artists in his own gym, the other trains with his family of fighters in the depths of Brazil. The comparisons in this fight are beyond measure.
That's what makes this fight so interesting.
As they say, styles make fights. Though these two have different styles of getting after it in the octagon, there will be one common variable no matter what happens.
This fight is going to be very entertaining to the true mixed martial arts fan.
UFC 129 is slated for April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The event will be headlined by No. 1 pound-for-pound and current welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre as he takes on former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields.