The rumor mill has been turning about former/current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s return to the UFC, and now there actually seems to be some substance to what we are hearing. It was reported earlier this week that Couture may return to the Octagon as a settlement with the organization for one final bout, then he would be released from his contract. It is now sounding as though Couture may be returning for a longer period, with an increase in compensation.
Michael Rome of Bloodyelbow.com is reporting that negotiations are officially underway between Couture and the UFC for the champion to resume his career with the largerst MMA organization in the world. Rome states that a November 15th return at UFC 91 is likely. He would headline the card against up and coming Brock Lesnar. It is unknown if the fight will be a title bout of some sort.
Rome’s report states that this fight would not be a one-time deal, which Couture would be free and clear from his contractual obligations with the company, as reported earlier this week. To the contrary, as Dave Meltzer from the WrestlingObserver.com is reporting that this would be a brand new, three fight deal.
5thRound.com reported earlier this week that Couture and the UFC were trying to settle their year-long dispute out of court, by having Couture fight only one more time for the UFC, then be released free and clear from the company, even though he would have one more fight remaining on his contract.
Current UFC interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, is already slated to take on Frank Mir at UFC 92 in December. They will be rival coaches on this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. Nogueira became interim champion by defeating Tim Sylvia, after Couture resigned from his post as champion last October.
If this three fight deal comes to fruition, it is believed that Couture would have Lesnar, Nogueira and possibly Chuck Liddell in his sights. It may be a long shot, but Ariel Helwanit from MMARated.com is reporting that the UFC is also considering a possible co-promotion with M-1 Global, Emelianenko’s organization, in order to make the Couture/Emelianenko fight possible.