Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Un-retired and facing a 'giant'

By Brad McCray

In early January, Randy Couture was in Portland for Sportfight, a mixed martial arts event he promotes with Eagle Creek's Matt Lindland. During his stay, the 43-year-old Couture met with family, his cauliflower ears freshly beaten and oozing.

"I saw him and he let it slip that he was training again," daughter Aimee Couture said. "I said, 'Uh, for what?'"

What indeed.

A former Gresham resident with deep Northwest ties, Couture will come out of retirement Saturday to fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championships heavyweight title at the sold-out Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

One of the most popular mixed-martial artists in the world, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound grappler will attempt to win a fifth UFC title, this time against the UFC's most fearsome opponent: 6-8, 260-pound Tim Sylvia (23-2 career record).

"I was surprised he was coming back -- a little nervous and a little excited," Aimee Couture, 22, said. She has attended many of Randy's fights, including his last: a knockout loss to light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell on Feb. 4, 2006.

"I was sick to my stomach, but that is something that happens in fights," she said. "I know my dad is in good shape and wouldn't come back unless he felt he was at the top of his game."

Not everyone around Couture, who has become a marketing force despite a 14-8 career record, was ecstatic about his comeback.

"Some of my family was hoping I'd hang it up," he said. "They gave me the look like I was nuts, but I've seen that look a few times in my life."

(Read More)

No comments: