It seems almost impossible that, at age 46, Randy Couture is still fighting in the UFC. But in less than two weeks he'll get back into the Octagon once again, taking on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102. In an interview with FanHouse, Couture talked about what kind of opponent Nogueira will be, why he thinks he could beat UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar if he gets another shot at him and whether it's realistic for him to keep fighting into his late 40s. The full interview is below.
Michael David Smith: Is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira someone you've always wanted to fight? Randy Couture: Absolutely. I've watched his fights for years, and he's a very, very impressive fighter. He has a lot of skill, he's very durable, he's a submission practitioner who's one of the best submission guys in our sport. There was a time when this would have been the dream match-up of Pride vs. UFC, both of us were once the champions of those organizations. That was a fight I had to turn down back then because I was under contract to the UFC, so I'm glad this fight came back around. ... I've got one more fight after this fight on my contract. And if I beat Nogueira I could be next in line for Lesnar, to try to end his reign as heavyweight champion. But I just have to take it as it comes and go with the flow.
How much of your preparation is film study, watching Nogueira against Mir and against other opponents? Is film study a major part of your preparation?
It always is for me. I like to study tape, see what guys' tendencies are, see where they like to be, where they don't like to be. I've seen a lot of Nogueira's fights, so I have an idea of what kind of fighter he is. Studying his fight with Heath Herring was interesting, and I thought his fight with Mir was interesting, and those are definitely fights I've closely studied.
With how good Nogueira's submissions are, would you prefer to keep that fight standing?
Well, I have to be attentive on the ground, but I think working with Neil Melanson, I've come up with ways to control the submission game, and I think if we go to the ground, I can be on the top or bottom and I'll be fine -- I think I can win the fight there. How cool would it be to submit Nogueira? Beating him on the ground would be an accomplishment.
What's the way to beat Lesnar? Does it need to be someone who can come close to matching his size and strength, like Carwin? Or is it someone with superior experience, like yourself?
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