When he announced his return to the UFC today, Randy Couture made clear that he has a great deal of respect for the man widely regarded as the best heavyweight in mixed martial arts, Fedor Emelianenko.
But the other two people involved in today's announcement, UFC President Dana White and Couture's opponent on November 15, Brock Lesnar, showed significantly less respect for Fedor.
After several media questions about Fedor, Lesnar finally snapped and said,
"Who gives a s--- about Fedor? I'm fighting Randy Couture. I don't give a damn about Fedor. I'm sick and tired of hearing about f---ing Fedor."
White wasn't quite as animated when talking about Fedor, but he was similarly annoyed. When it was suggested that Fedor is the best MMA fighter in the world, White suggested that Fedor should stop ducking the UFC.
"I want to see if he's the best," White said of Fedor. "Come and find out. ... Randy Couture is relevant. Fedor is not."
I asked Couture whether he thinks that if he retires without having fought Fedor, something will be missing from his legacy, and conversely, whether he thinks if Fedor never fights in the UFC, something will be missing from his legacy.
Couture clearly has more respect for Fedor than Lesnar or White has, but he echoed White's basic sentiment.
"I don't think anything is missing from my legacy," Couture said. "I can retire today and be perfectly fine. I'm fighting because I love to fight. Do I want to fight Fedor? Absolutely. Most people consider him the No. 1 heavyweight and I want to take that from him. As a competitor that's important to me. ... If he wants to be the No. 1 heavyweight he needs to come and fight me."