The referee Big John McCarthy once described Randy Couture as the most mentally impressive athlete in the history of MMA. The way Couture talks about his preparation for his UFC 105 fight with Brandon Vera explains why Couture has always excelled at the mental aspect of the sport.
"The enjoyable part for me is solving the problem, solving the puzzle," Couture says. "It's always kind of been what's intrigued me about this sport -- solving the equation. Seeing each and every opponent as a problem, he poses different things, different strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how I match up with that and what's going to put me in the right places to overcome him."
Couture says that as he watches Vera, he knows the way to solve that problem is "make Brandon wrestle." And he says he hopes beating Vera is a step toward solving the ultimate puzzle of the light heavyweight division, Lyoto Machida.
"A title run is solving a string of problems. Right now the best guy in the weight class is Lyoto," Couture says. "Brandon is definitely a step in that direction."