Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White today announced that after a year away from the game, UFCÃ‚Â® heavyweight champion Randy "The Natural" Couture will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon to defend his title against rising star Brock Lesnar in a clash of titans destined to shake the foundations of the sport. This championship bout, the biggest heavyweight title fight in years, will headline UFC 91: COUTURE vs. LESNAR, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008.
"I am happy to announce that UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture will be returning to action in the Octagon," said Dana White, UFC President. "He's a legend in the UFC, and one of the fighters that helped build this sport. I have always said that wrestling is one of the best bases you can have in MMA and not only is Randy a top level wrestler but his opponent is as well. Brock Lesnar showed the MMA world that he is for real in his last fight, dismantling the far more experienced Heath Herring. His combination of speed and power was absolutely devastating. It is a fascinating matchup: the crafty, multiple-time heavyweight champion versus the younger, bigger, and stronger challenger. This is one that will go down in the history books."
Ticket information for UFC 91: COUTURE vs. LESNAR will be announced shortly.
UFC 91: COUTURE vs. LESNAR will be available live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer's Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).
A UFC Hall of Famer whose name is synonymous with mixed martial arts, Randy 'The Natural' Couture (16-8) is the only fighter in history to win the UFC world heavyweight title three times, and that's not even mentioning his two UFC light heavyweight titles. Owner of heavyweight wins over the likes of Maurice Smith, Vitor Belfort, Kevin Randleman, and Pedro Rizzo (twice), the 45-year old Las Vegas resident turned back the clock in 2007 with a stirring win over Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 that netted him his third heavyweight crown. Couture defended his title for the first time at UFC 74 with a third round TKO of number one contender Gabriel Gonzaga, and now the man often referred to as "Captain America" will look to prove once again that he should never be counted out in a fight when he takes on Brock Lesnar.
"I have a lot of respect for Brock as an athlete and a collegiate wrestler, but I know exactly where he's at, he's trying to make the transition from a wrestler to mixed martial arts," said Couture. "I've been there, done that, and I know what the pitfalls are. This will be an interesting matchup, and it will be very nice to be home in the Octagon for this fight."
A physically gifted athlete with the size, speed, and power to impose his will on any opponent, Brock Lesnar (2-1) made an immediate impact in the UFC when he debuted here in February of 2008, and he has his sights set on shocking the world on November 15th. A four-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion, and 2000 NCAA Division I National Champion in wrestling, Lesnar made a name for himself internationally after college as a professional wrestler, but he soon found his true love in mixed martial arts in 2006. After a 69 second win in his pro debut a year later, Lesnar entered the UFC and made a positive impression in a loss to former heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 81, but at UFC 87 in August, the Minneapolis-St. Paul resident showed why he is rapidly becoming one of the most feared fighters in the sport today and an immediate threat to the heavyweight throne.
"It's an honor to fight Randy Couture, he's a legend in this sport, and to get the chance to test myself against him is a gift," said Lesnar. "A lot guys would love to have this opportunity, Randy is the UFC heavyweight champion. There is one goal that I've had since I started training in MMA and that is to capture the title. Now that I'm getting the chance, nothing is going to stop me. I'm walking out of the Octagon with the belt around my waist."