No one has yet won the WWE title and then gone on to become the UFC World Heavyweight champion but that could all change when Brock Lesnar challenges Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture for the title at UFC 91 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on November 15th.
Announcing the title match that sees the return of Couture, UFC President Dana White said: "I have always said that wrestling is one of the best bases you can have in MMA and not only is Randy a top level wrestler but his opponent is as well. Brock Lesnar showed the MMA world that he is for real in his last fight, dismantling the far more experienced Heath Herring. His combination of speed and power was absolutely devastating. It is a fascinating matchup: the crafty, multiple-time heavyweight champion versus the younger, bigger, and stronger challenger. This is one that will go down in the history books."
45-year old Couture is the only man to have won the World Heavyweight title three times (having previously won the Light Heavyweight title belt twice) and is already in the UFC Hall of Fame. Speaking about his opponent he said "I have a lot of respect for Brock as an athlete and a collegiate wrestler, but I know exactly where he’s at, he’s trying to make the transition from a wrestler to mixed martial arts. I’ve been there, done that, and I know where the pitfalls are. This will be an interesting matchup, and it will be very nice to be home in the Octagon for this fight."
Lesnar says of the champion: "It’s an honor to fight Randy Couture, he’s a legend in this sport, and to get the chance to test myself against him is a gift, A lot guys would love to have this opportunity, Randy is the UFC heavyweight champion. There is one goal that I’ve had since I started training in MMA and that is to capture the title. Now that I’m getting the chance, nothing is going to stop me. I’m walking out of the Octagon with the belt around my waist."
Time now for Dynamite Duane to take a closer look at the match in his new column:
It is the next big thing in the MMA and arguably the biggest mainstream crossover for the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts yet! At UFC 91 on Saturday November 15th we are treated to a dream fight of former WWE champ Brock Lesnar challenging veteran of the octagon Randy ‘the natural’ Couture for his Heavyweight crown. Dana White is calling this "the biggest fight in UFC history" and he not far wrong there! Couture has just rejoined Dana White’s UFC since leaving as the Heavyweight title holder, appearing at the Affliction PPV back in the summer he hinted wanting to fight on their next card depending on the his UFC deal he walked out on. So now all is rosy and Couture is smiling, having come to an agreement with UFC management, which is awesome news for the MMA industry and us fight fans. With Couture out of the UFC and Affliction looking doomed to financial failure plus Couture’s and UFC’s legal problems it limited the chances of seeing Couture in another top class bout in the twilight of his career. So thank our lucky stars it all has come together and once again the booking team at UFC HQ have not disappointed. Lesnar who with an MMA fight record of just 3 fights (2 wins, 1 loss) he is getting a giant push right towards the top of the pile in the world of MMA. It is arguable whether Brock deserves the title fight so early on and perhaps not really proving himself worthy at this stage but there is no denying Couture versus Lesnar is a huge draw for TV pay per view and ticket sales. This fight IS MONEY!
There is a good chance UFC 91 will outsell both Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz, the current #1 UFC pay per view plus Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz, the second on the list. Undoubtedly it is going to be a big payday for Couture, Lesnar and the UFC.
If UFC management wanted they could have booked Couture against Nogueira to unify the title but really know this is the biggie they have been waiting for and are seizing the opportunity. So what are Brock’s chances of becoming the new UFC Heavyweight champ against veteran Couture? Well the obvious factor is size and youth being Lesnar’s biggest allies but he lacks the experience of Couture. I see the upcoming fight being similar to Lesnar’s first UFC win versus Heath Herring, overpowering and dominating his opponent winning on points with him being careful rather the charging bull onslaught in his first 2 MMA encounters. They are two highly skilled wrestlers; but Couture has the edge as far as octagon experience goes, this is going to be a real corker!
While Randy has been away from UFC action Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been crowned interim champion so come next year there is sure to be a scrap to unify the belts.
Currently the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter is building up to the next big heavyweight clash between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Frank Mir as team coaches.
Nog and Mir are set to collide on the big end of year card scheduled for December 27th at UFC 92 – The Ultimate.
Looking ahead here is the planned card to look forward to in December:
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Frank Mir
- Forrest Griffin vs Rashad Evans
- Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva
- CB Dollaway vs Jorge Rivera
- Dean Lister vs Yushin Okami
- Mustapha al Turk vs Cheick Kongo
- Brad Blackburn vs Ryo Chonan
(More on UFC 92 next time)
So it looks like things are really hotting up in the UFC heavyweight division, previously all eyes were on the Light Heavyweights with names including Shamrock, Ortiz, Liddell and Rampage Jackson being the fighters to watch but things have shifted recently. All we can hope for next is for Fedor Emelianenko to sign up with the UFC then we could see who truly is the best Heavyweight mixed martial artist in the world!
Meanwhile crossing back over into the world of American pro wrestling at TNA PPV No Surrender the UFC veteran Frank Trigg crossed the line stepping into the ring with AJ Styles in an MMA rules contest. Seeing as this was a TNA card and not one of Antonio Inoki’s NJPW events this was actually a worked MMA fight. This bout didn’t go down well with some of the TNA hardcore of fans that were heard chanting, "We want wrestling!" Despite this vocal minority’s reaction it was a pretty good bout utilising the rounds creating excitement much like a traditional British rules wrestling bout. Trigg did well for his first attempt at pro wrestling and displayed some goods skills on the mic pre fight. The match ended as a no contest when AJ kicked Frank below the belt. Ideally this could have led to a rematch but this was Frank Trigg’s last appearance for TNA.
Other former WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley is still to make his debut as an MMA fighter for brand new promotion AFL due to their event being postponed.
That is it until next time when I announce the hugely anticipated MMA and pro wrestling crossover of Kurt Angle’s UFC debut! Yeah right, like that will ever happen!!