It appears that “The Natural” Randy Couture will be returning to the UFC’s light heavyweight division. The former champion will reportedly face Brandon Vera in the main event at UFC 105. The show is slated to jump off inside the MEN Arena in Manchester, England on November 14th.
UFC sources confirmed the bout with The Sun over the weekend after matchmaker Joe Silva offered the two the opportunity to headline the card.
The organization was left scrambling to find a featured bout for the card after they decided to move the lightweight title fight between 155-pound king BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez to UFC 107. Word was that the UFC was looking to land the middleweight top contender bout between Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt as the card’s final bout, however were unable to secure the match-up.
Couture is coming off of his second consecutive loss since returning to the Octagon after his bitter contract dispute with the UFC. He was most recently seen being dominated by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102 just last month.
It was a loss so convincing that it had the former UFC 205-pound and heavyweight champion contemplating a return to the lighter weight class on the heels of his 46th birthday.
“As far as staying at heavyweight, going light heavyweight, you know what? I’m interested in interesting [those] fights,” Couture stated at the UFC 102 post-fight press conference. “There are a lot of guys in both divisions that are interesting to fight.”
President Dana White immediately followed up those sentiments by stating that if Couture decided to jump back down, he would have his blessing.
“I’d love to see him at light heavyweight but he proves that he can hang with heavyweights,” White said. “I mean he’s probably had the best fight against Brock Lesnar, other than Heath Herring, since Lesnar’s been in here.
“He’s always awesome at light heavyweight. I think he’s a monster at light heavyweight. It’s up to him to be honest with you, whatever he wants to do it’s on him.”
Vera competed on the same UFC 102 fight card as he easily outpointed an over-matched Krzysztof Soszynski to a unanimous decision victory. The W bumped his professional record to an impressive 11-3, however he has posted a mundane 3-3 mark over his last six scraps.
Although both of their previous contests went the distance, Couture and Vera were able to survive their battles without suffering any significant injuries. That was what enabled the UFC to put them back in action so quickly.
UFC Fight Club and UFC.com newsletter subscribers are currently able to purchase tickets for UFC 105, however us common folk gain access tomorrow, Monday, beginning at 10AM BST.
The event is scheduled to be broadcast for free in North America on Spike TV via same-day tape delay. Here is the most updated roster of fighters slated to compete in the night’s event:
Nick Osipczak vs. TBD
Terry Etim vs. TBD
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jared Hamman
Roli Delgado vs. Andre Winner
John Hathaway vs. Paul Taylor
DaMarques Johnson vs. Peter Sobotta
Ross Pearson vs. Aaron Riley
Matt Brown vs. James Wilks
Dan Hardy vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Michael Bisping vs. Denis Kang
Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera