clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Randy Couture: Battle Has Begun Between UFC and Strikeforce

In addition to being one of the best fighters in MMA history, Randy Couture is known as one of the most knowledgeable observers of the sport, regarding both what happens inside the cage and the business side of the sport. He's also known for his longstanding quest to fight Fedor Emelianenko, so in a week when Fedor shocked the MMA world by signing with Strikeforce, Couture's thoughts are of particular interest.

And in an interview with FanHouse, Couture said that the big news coming ouf of Fedor's signing with Strikeforce is that competition is now brewing between the UFC and Strikeforce.

"The back-and-forth is starting now between the UFC and Strikeforce," Couture said Tuesday. "There were a lot of competitors out there for the UFC, and Strikeforce is the last one standing. So it was only a matter of time before the adversarial relationship started between them, I think, with the Affliction stuff and those contracts being up in the air and both organizations trying to sign those fighters."

Although Couture has always wanted to fight Fedor, he said that he knew the UFC would never accede to the demands of Fedor's company, M-1 Global, to be promotional partners.

"With all the things M-1 Global wanted, there was no way the UFC was going to get that done," Couture said. "I think [Strikeforce boss] Scott Coker's willingness to do a co-promotion with M-1 is what made the difference to allow Fedor to sign."

Some MMA observers have suggested that Fedor is ducking tough opponents by refusing to fight in the UFC, which has most of the world's top heavyweights under contract. But Couture said he thinks Fedor will have some big fights in Strikeforce.

"There are a lot of interesting fights there, like Alistair Overeem and Brett Rogers," Couture said. "Those are some big, strong heavyweights and it'll be interesting to see how Fedor looks against those guys."

Couture acknowledged that he wished he could get a shot at Fedor, but he seems to realize that his own contract with the UFC and Fedor's contracts with M-1 and Strikeforce make that exceedingly unlikely.

"I'm certainly not going to hold my breath," Couture said. "There was a window here when I thought he might sign with the UFC and I might get a shot at him. But like I said, I wasn't going to hold my breath, and contractually I'm bound to the UFC."

Still, Couture said that as long as Fedor is generally recognized as the heavyweight champion of MMA, he'll hope to step into the cage with him.

"I think most people consider him the best heavyweight in the world," Couture said. "The guy is very impressive, with what he did to Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, and then going back to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and all the other people he's defeated. He wins his fights in pretty devastating fashion most of the time. Most people consider him the best heavyweight, and as a fighter, those are the people you want to fight. You want to fight the best guy."

UPDATE: More on Couture in our UFC Twitter mailbag.

Couture's comments were part of a longer interview in which he discussed his upcoming fight with Nogueira, his thoughts on UFC 101, his involvement with the Sports Legends Challenge and more. Look for the full interview soon at FanHouse.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting