Experience Will Rise Above Rust for Couture

Written by Tom Ngo
November 15th, 2008

It has been over 14 months since UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture last fought a professional fight.  Known for his relentless work ethic, the 45-year old has stayed quite active during his “vacation” from the Octagon, training daily with the multitude of talent that his Xtreme Couture camp contains. The MMA veteran isn’t worried about ring rust in the very least, so you shouldn’t be either.

“Everybody asks about ring rust and all that stuff,” Couture states. “I don’t think it’s the same for a mixed martial artist as it is for boxing. Sparring in the gym — the training we do — it’s just about as real as the fights. So I’m not worried about that at all.

“I’ve got a great camp,” Couture added. “I’ve been very active with all the guys, Forrest (Griffin) and a number of the other athletes that train at Xtreme Couture. I’ve never been one to sit around. I like to train. I like to be in the gym. They’re kind of my family.”

In addition, the 11-year MMA veteran has an extensive vault of knowledge that he can draw upon. Something that his inexperienced UFC 91 opponent, Brock Lesnar, doesn’t.

“I definitely think that experience and having been in a lot of those situations is an asset and is something to rely on,” Couture said. “It doesn’t matter what combative sport you’re involved in. They are sports of experience. I’ve been in a lot of different situations, and those all count.”

There is no telling how Lesnar will react to fighting for a title on MMA’s biggest stage. Will his lack of experience force him to succumb to the pressure of facing a champion as great as Couture?

That remains to be seen, however one significant factor that Couture can’t overlook is the
severe size advantage that his challenger will hold over him.

“I fought a couple of big guys back in the day, but I don’t think any of them were as big as Brock either,” Couture stated. “(But) both of my recent fights have been against guys that were pretty large. I think he’s going to outweigh me by about 35 pounds, so those are things that I’ve trained and prepared to deal with.”

The closest opponent that Couture has faced similar in size to Lesnar would be former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. Although Sylvia is taller, where Lesnar is stockier, the champ has drawn upon his successful experience against Sylvia as a blueprint to attack his opponent on Saturday.

“There are similarities in that it’s hard to find guys that are going to simulate Brock or a guy like Tim,” Couture said. “They’re very unique in their skill sets and their physicality. And so there’s been some déjà vu during this 10-week camp with some of the things that I had to go through week in and week out.

“But that’s good. The outcome of the Sylvia fight was good. That paid off. Hopefully it’s going to pay off again in this fight.”

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