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Randy Couture Looks Forward to Nogueira After Completing Film Role

Randy CoutureRandy Couture has had an enviable variety of experiences in life. He was a collegiate wrestling All-American, served six years in the U.S. Army, was an Olympic team alternate, became a multi-time UFC champion and one of the most recognizable names in MMA, and launched a successful gym bearing his name.

And in his spare time -- whenever that is -- he's taken to acting.

Couture recently spent nearly three months shooting the upcoming blockbuster "The Expendables." But with filming behind him, he is firmly back in the gym and in training for his UFC 102 main event matchup with fellow heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

"The whole experience was a blast," Couture recently told FanHouse. "I did three weeks in Brazil and the rest in New Orleans. Sly [Stallone] was awesome and very intense. He wore a lot of hats, writing directing and starring in it. I don't know how he was still standing after the experience I had."

The movie, which reportedly has a budget of $70 million, tells the story of a team of mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a dictator. The film is directed by, written by and stars the aforementioned Stallone, but includes an impressive cast including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and recent Oscar-nominee Mickey Rourke. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are also expected to play cameos.

Couture plays one of the six "Expendables" hired to do the job, specializing in hand-to-hand combat. Needless to say, Couture's character is expected to post a double-digit body count in the finished film.

But Couture also managed to keep his mind on the reality of his upcoming fight with Nogueira. With a schedule that often had 12 hours on, 12 hours off, he used his free time to work out with a stunt man who happens to be a pro kickboxer and the same one he used to train before his first fight with Vitor Belfort over a decade ago.

"Him and I got some good sparring sessions, and got to do some drills," he said. "It was great. I came to camp in much better shape than I thought I would be in."

As far the puzzle that Nogueira presents, Couture is certain he'll find an answer. Though many are beginning to wonder whether the chinks in the armor the Brazilian legend has shown in his last few fights are indicative of a trend, Couture says he can't allow himself to think that way, and will expect the best Nogueira he's ever seen.

"I cant say, 'Well I think he's been in too many battles and he got knocked down the last two fights.' I can't think like that," he said. "That'd be stupid. Obviously he's always going to be dangerous on the ground. He's a master down there. I have to be attentive. I'm not afraid of him there, because I'm not bad there, either. I'm just sharpening tools to deal specifically with how I think he's going to approach me."

"The Natural" said he is paying particular attention to Nogueira's half-guard game, specifically the guillotine choke that has ended more than a few nights. As to his own strategy, Couture isn't giving away much. But even though he's renowned for his takedowns and ground-and-pound, don't be surprised to see one legend engage the other on their feet.

"We both pose problems for each other so it'll be interesting," Couture said. "Maybe I'll try to make him stand with me."