When you think about the UFC light heavyweight title picture who do you think of? Probably Lyoto Machida, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans and maybe even Lil Nog and Jon Jones, right?
One fighter you probably don’t even consider though is Randy Couture. After all, he’s coming off a controversial win over Brandon Vera and a gimme win over Mark Coleman, so why would you, especially when there are so many strong contenders in the division as it is? Well, Randy Couture doesn’t agree. In fact, if he gets his way, he’ll be taking on this weekend’s Machida-Shogun winner for the title later this year after he dispatches James Toney in August.
When asked if he believes he could be in line for a title shot within 12 to 18 months, Couture said that it could be sooner.
“I think within the next six months I’d like to be in line to fight the winner of the Machida/Shogun fight,” said Couture during an interview with MMAWeekly Radio.
“I’m going to be in Montreal to watch that fight very attentively. I think it’s going to be a great fight,” he stated.
The question is, does Couture know something we don’t know? As in did Dana White indicate to Couture that he’s in the title hunt? Or is this Randy merely expressing his desire to fight for the belt?
You would think the latter, but Dana White did make it a point to label him a top five light heavyweight on several occasions since he dropped back down to 205 for no good reason other than to build him into a title contender. It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone if the UFC tries to shoehorn him into title contention.
That said, I think it’s unlikely. The numbers from Couture’s last two headlining fights were disappointing, and you have to imagine the UFC has taken note of that. In other words, they may not feel there’s enough incentive to force the issue. The only way I see it happening is if Machida and Evans both win this month. No one wants to see that rematch, Lil Nog no longer has Forrest Griffin to catapult him into top contender status and the UFC is taking it slow with Jones, so in that scenario, I could see them slipping Couture in. But if Rampage wins, there’s no way Couture gets the nod. All signs are pointing to The A-Team being a major blockbuster this summer. The UFC would be stupid not to take advantage of Rampage’s new star power, and the UFC isn’t stupid.
Image via Sherdog