Mark my words, Randy Couture will fight for the UFC light heavyweight title if he beats Brandon Vera. I know what your thinking. Randy lost his last fight, and a victory over “The Truth” doesn’t warrant a shot at the belt. Those are both logical points, but irrelevant nonetheless. If Couture walks out of UFC 105 with a win, he will be the beneficiary of circumstance, much like he was when he came out of retirement to fight Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight crown back in 2007.
With Rampage Jackson leaving the company taking a hiatus from the UFC, the title picture after this weekend’s Machida v. Shogun fight is a bit screwy. The Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz fight that co-headlines UFC 106 will put the winner back on the road to the belt, but each of those guys will need at least another win before fighting for gold, with Griffin having dropped his last two and Ortiz having not won a fight since 2006. The winner of the Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva fight tentatively scheduled for UFC 108 will undoubtedly be at the top of the 205-pound heap, but both fighters have suffered recent losses to current champ Lyoto Machida, meaning each of them will also likely need to win another big fight before being considered for a title shot. The upcoming bout between Lil Nog and Luiz Cane will produce arguably the most deserving candidate from a sporting perspective, but both men will need a bit more exposure to the fanbase before fighting in a pay-per-view main event for the championship — no matter what Joe Hardcore thinks.
Sure, it’s possible that Rampage and Dana White could kiss and make up, setting Rampage up for a title bout. It’s possible, but it’s more likely that UFC brass puts Rampage in the cage with Evans in his first fight back after hyping that fight all season on TUF.
With all the other options exhausted, it only makes sense that Couture would get a shot at the title if victorious in his next fight. “The Natural” has won UFC championship gold so many times that it’s almost strange when he’s not fighting for a title. Brandon Vera might not be at the top of the 205-pound ladder, but he’s still a dangerous opponent. A victory would mean that Couture can still compete with the younger, quicker fighters. A fight between the 46 year old and either Machida or Shogun would be an easy sell: can Randy shock the world again? I heavily doubt his chances against either Brazilian, but I would still buy the shit out of that fight.
It might not be the ideal decision, but it’s the best decision in light of the surrounding circumstances. Then again, if Couture loses, your guess is as good as mine.