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UFC Twitter Mailbag: Randy Couture

Randy Couture is the subject of our latest UFC Twitter mailbag, with questions about his fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Saturday at UFC 102, whether he'll be meeting a stronger Nogueira than the one who lost to Frank Mir in December, and whether he's been too busy training other fighters to focus completely on his own fight.

Questions about UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira for our UFC Twitter mailbag are below.

UFC: Hey Fanhouse, do you think Randy can win this weekend at UFC 102?
I definitely think Couture can win. I still haven't made up my mind about whether he will win. When this fight was first announced, my initial thought was that Nogueira would beat Couture. But as we get closer to it, after I've talked to both fighters and picked the brains of some of the people in the MMA community whose opinions I respect, I'm starting to reconsider. Almost everyone I know is picking Couture to beat Nogueira, including more than 85% of the people I heard from about it on Twitter. I'm having a harder time making my mind up about this fight than I have about practically any other fight I've ever predicted.

munche: I would give Randy a slight edge against 100% Nog. Complete blowout against Frank Mir Nog.
This tweet gets to what I consider the big question about this fight: Does the 46-year-old Couture have more gas left in the tank than the 33-year-old Nogueira?

It sounds crazy that so many fans think Nogueira is too old and beat up to win, even though he's the younger fighter by 13 years. But it's true, as munche points out, that Nogueira did not look like himself against Frank Mir: Instead, Nogueira looked like all the battles he's been through in his 38-fight career have taken such a toll that he's no longer the elite fighter we saw in Pride. There are also rumors going around that Nogueira is having a really hard time in his current training camp, and that his sparring partners are knocking him out and beating him up.

I'm not ready to buy it, though. Nogueira was reportedly struggling with illnesses and injuries when he fought Mir, and I still think that if he's healthy, Nogueira has some good fights left in him. I think we're going to see a very good heavyweight battle between Couture and Nogueira.

mmahotstuff: I'm guessing Randy was in Ryan's corner. Plus he was in Gina's corner. Busy guy. Do you think it will impact his performance at UFC 102?
Randy was in the corner of his son, Ryan Couture, who won an amateur MMA fight on Saturday, although from what I've heard it's actually Shawn Tompkins who does most of the coaching for Ryan. And yes, Randy was also in Gina Carano's corner against Cris Cyborg.

But while I could see how some fighters might be distracted by all that cornering, I actually think in the case of Couture, cornering other fighters is part of what keeps him mentally sharp. Couture is a student of the sport, and the time he spends coaching other fighters is time he's also studying what works and what doesn't inside the cage. If his work with other fighters impacts his performance at UFC 102, I think it will be a positive impact.

Want to be part of our next UFC Twitter mailbag? Post a question or comment on, and be sure to start it with @MichaelDavSmith.

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