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Couture not slowing down

Story by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photo by Chris Cozzone

Going into Saturday’s main event bout with fellow UFC legend Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, Randy “The Natural” Couture (17-10) is all smiles.

Tucked away on the southwest end of Las Vegas at his famous Xtreme Couture gym, the five-time UFC champion is living up to his nickname. After wrapping up a workout, Couture, drenched in his own sweat entertains a group of reporters.

Though Couture is heading into a contest with the “God Father of Ground and Pound,” he remains laid back, sharing an inside joke about the fight.

“There’s 100 years between us,” Couture says of Coleman and himself. “My buddies here say we should move it to Caesar’s [Palace] and call it ‘The Geezers at Caesar’s.’”

All jokes aside, both of the geezers—to quote Couture—have proven that they still have plenty of fight in them. After an abysmal showing against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 93, Coleman rebounded with a decisive unanimous decision win at UFC 100.

Despite mixed results, Couture is also experiencing resurgence in the Octagon. After dropping the heavyweight strap to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91, Couture lost a hard fought unanimous decision to Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, but quickly rebounded with a unanimous decision victory of his own against Brandon “The Truth” Vera.

What makes Couture’s recent run so noteworthy is that UFC 109 marks his third fight in a six-month period. With fighters half his age not cutting that type of pace in the UFC, one would think Couture was on the verge of burning out.

“The Natural” says just the opposite is occurring.

“Rolling one camp into the next has been really good. My game is stronger. Physically, I’m real good,” Couture says when pressed about the frantic fight schedule he’s embarked on.

Barring injury, Couture will be on pace to finish out his six-fight contract by the end of 2010.

“This is the quickest I’ve turned around,” he says as though mentally chronicling his career prior to answering. “It’s been five or six years since I’ve turned around this quickly and frankly I should’ve done it sooner.

UFC 109’s main event is a rematch of sorts. Couture and Coleman have known each other for years and faced off in a wrestling match in 1989. At the time, Coleman was a household name on the freestyle wrestling circuit and Couture was an up and comer and nearly edged out the veteran.

“That was the pinnacle of Mark’s wrestling career,” Couture says recalling the bout. “He beat me by one point. He was one of the best freestyle guys at the time.”

Nine years later, the pair was set to square off again at UFC 17, but an injured rib forced Couture off the card. Twenty-one years after the original meeting, the two hall of famers, who share six title reigns between them meet again. Couture insists that there’s no desire for “revenge” based on the original match in 1989.

“I’m not really wired that way.”

Couture however, is wired for 15 minutes of caged combat and a night of fireworks is in store for fight fans.

“This has the makings of a good old fashioned scrap,” he stated. “[Coleman’s] a straight ahead guy, and I tend to be that way too. We’re probably going to meet in the middle and let the fur fly.”

Not bad for two old “geezers.”

 

 


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