So, the feud between Randy Couture and the UFC is over and to celebrate, they’re going to feed him Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in a Heavyweight Championship match. My first reaction is, “Wow!” Brock got one win over Heath Herring in the UFC, has three – count ’em, three – total mixed-martial arts bouts under his belt and he gets a shot the UFC Heavyweight Championship? Am I missing something here?
This matchup is about money and marquee value, folks. It really has nothing to do with the title, even though it has title implications. (The winner will face the winner of the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship – Frank Mir or Antonio Nogueira – in a title unification match.)
UFC must really want Brock to succeed. They see him as “The Next Big Thing” (yes, wrestling fans, that’s how WWE once referred to him) and could see him as the fresh new face of the company, able to carry the UFC to new heights, mostly – and ironically – due to his fame in sports-entertainment (or “acting” or “fake wrestling” as some critics within the MMA community have referred to WWE).
Brock is not an MMA fraud whose legend (or myth) was built on street fights and viral videos. He’s the real deal as an amateur wrestler and would eat Kimbo Slice’s lunch and then come back for dinner. But it’s clear that he’s still learning. Though he pounded Heath Herring, he should have really put him away. If Brock had been truly skilled in the Octagon-style ground game and submissions, he could have made “The Texas Crazy Horse” cry uncle.
Couture, on the other hand, is a legendary strategist whose conditioning is a blueprint for his many admirers. He could probably spot numerous holes in Brock’s game, exploit his inexperience in the mixed-martial arts world and take him to school.
But MMA is a crazy, unpredictable world where the unlikely is often likely. Couture wasn’t supposed to beat the bigger, younger, stronger Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight title at age 43. He did. He wasn’t supposed to beat Chuck Liddell; he knocked him out. So what if Liddell beat him in rematches? Couture wasn’t supposed to put “The Iceman” on ice to begin with.
On paper, Couture is not supposed to lose to Brock. Even though he’s now 45, he’s still much more experienced. But Brock is younger, incredibly powerful and driven. And he has wrestling skills. What if he improves just enough? What if he catches Couture just once with one of those 4XL gloves?
These are strange and interesting times in MMA. Let The Dirty Truth unfold …