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Randy 'The Natural' Couture Interview

Most athletes are long settled into retirement by age 40. As if anyone needed further proof that Randy Couture is in a league of his own, the Ultimate Fighting Championship legend has picked up two UFC light-heavyweight titles since his 40th birthday. Like a fine whisky, Couture feels he is getting better with age and still thinks he has it in him to claim his fifth UFC championship.

"I feel I'm still getting better technically, I can recover just as well, and I can do all the things that are necessary to be a good fighter," he said in a November 1 interview.

"I love the training, love the competition, and I still feel like I'm progressing and getting better as a fighter," he added later.

That may be a scary thought coming from a 42-year-old man but if Couture still feels younger than most of his peers, Chuck Liddell best come prepared on February 4, 2006 when "The Natural" meets him in the pair's rubber match for the light-heavyweight crown.

Couture goes into the fight with momentum on his side after a convincing submission victory over Mike Van Arsdale at UFC 54.

"The last of the negotiations have happened and the fight will happen in February," Couture said.

"I think more than anything I just tactically made a mistake in that fight, chasing Chuck a little too much.... Eventually I'll get my hands on him and I'll get him down on the ground and make him work and see how long he can stay with that."

Couture makes no secret he wants UFC gold around his waist once more but says, win or lose, his relationship with Liddell shouldn't change.

"I respect his work ethic and his respect for the sport, and I think he feels the same about me," Couture said. "It's always an honor to fight someone like that."

Couture also graciously took time to share his thoughts on several other subjects with

On retirement:

"I could retire tomorrow and be pretty satisfied with my career in the UFC. I don't know that I'm out to accomplish a whole lot more."

On the current crop of UFC heavyweights:

"I suppose from the right situation I could be convinced to fight heavyweight again but I've settled into light-heavyweight.... I have respect for those guys. They're tough competitors and they're certainly the reason it's wise to move out of the heavyweight division.

On "Big" John McCarthy:

"He's a big guy, and he certainly knows our sport very well. He does some training and grappling himself but I don't think he has any illusions of being a fighter. He'd be the first to admit that threes a lot more to it than that. He's got the best seat in the house.

On The Ultimate Fighter 2:

"I think it's been very, very good. There are some very talented fighters in there, especially as it winds down now and they compete for the finals this Saturday. The cast of the first season had kind of a grit, they were just tough and pretty determined and I think some of the cast in the second season lacked some of that and that showed pretty early on."

On his dream fight:

"I don't know if I have a dream fight. I stated several times I'd like to see the titles unified between Pride and UFC but that's probably a pipe dream (laugh). Certainly Wanderlei Silva is considered by many to be one of the top fighters in the world."

On title unification:

"I think the one thing that would be nice that I've talked about in the past is to finally bridge the gap between the other organizations that are out there, seeing the champions from other organizations compete against each other, but politically I don't know that the climate is right.

"For the sport it would be a huge thing."

On the new crop of UFC superstars:

"I just can't get enough of George St. Pierre. He's unbelievable, very dynamic, very fun to watch, and a super nice kid on top of that. Certainly I'm a big fan of Chris Leben and Nate Quarry, guys from my school that I train with on a regular basis.

On Tito Ortiz:

"I don't know about menace to society that might be a little strong. I like Tito. I get along with Tito just fine. He's a very good athlete and a good fighter. I question some of the business decisions he's made in the recent years, but that's up to him to figure out and sort out what he wants to do and what's on his heart as far as where he competes and what he does. Tito's Tito. You know you're going to get a tongue lashing if you fight him.... There are some issues with that behavior. You better go out and win or else you look silly and I think that's where he's at. He's talked a lot of crap to a lot of fighters and he didn't go out and back it up. His last fight against Belfort was a great performance. He's been an awesome training partner."

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