PHOENIX - AUGUST 13: Randy Couture watches the Strikeforce Challengers Main Card bout at Dodge Theater on August 13 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
"It doesn't matter if I win or not. I know them. I know Dana. I know he's got plans already. That doesn't matter to me. He's going to have to really step up if he thinks I'm going to come back out and I don't think that's going to happen."
-- As if fans didn't need another reason to speculate on whether or not Hall of Famer Randy Couture will retire following his UFC 129 bout against Lyoto Machida, he goes off and tells MMAFix the bossman, Dana White, would have to really step up to keep him from hanging up the four-ounce gloves. Which is to essentially say, if the pot was sweet enough, "The Natural" just might go all-in on a return to the Octagon. As of now, the plan still calls for the Rogers Centre at the historic "St. Pierre vs. Shields" event in Toronto this coming Saturday, April 30, 2011, to play host to his final fight. After all, what better way to end such a storied career then to have the largest audience in the history of the promotion send him off? Based on the track record of all involved, though, does anyone really believe "Captain America" is ready to sail off into the Hollywood sunset?
"It doesn't matter if I win or not. I know them. I know Dana. I know he's got plans already. That doesn't matter to me. He's going to have to really step up if he thinks I'm going to come back out and I don't think that's going to happen. There's a lot of younger guys that are, you know, there's two guys on that card in Toronto that are vying for titles or putting their titles on the line, I should say, four guys vying for titles, I suppose. But, you know, there's a lot younger guys that are... Jon Jones is a perfect example. If they offered me that fight in the fall -- nobody wants to fight that cat right now. I don't see that battle in my future. I'm having fun doing what I'm doing, doing what I love to do and I think I'm going to focus on all the other stuff.
"What, they're going to offer me a 10-fight deal? I don't know what they're going to offer me. It's not about titles, it's not about belts. I've done everything there is to do in this sport and had a blast the 14 years I've been doing it. I think now is the time to move on.
"I'm going to win this fight (against Lyoto Machida). It doesn't matter to me (what Jon Jones does). Nobody is unbeatable. They can say, I mean, people are going to say all kinds of things. They can speculate all they want and they can throw Fedor in there and everybody else in there and it doesn't matter. It's about how I feel, where I'm at in my life and how I see it that counts.
"I still think people look at me as an athlete. They're not looking at me as an actor, not yet. I think there's been other guys that have come along that have had that same hurdle to kind of get over. And I think that hurdle is still in front of me. I need that role that is going to make people scratch their head and go, 'Isn't that that guy?' I think, you use Dewayne Johnson as an example. I think for a long time, 'Scorpion King' and the other things he did, they were saying, 'Oh, yeah, that's that pro wrestler.' And then he did that 'Get Chill' where he played the gay kind of interesting character and he did an amazing job and I think that was the hurdle that put him on the other side to say, 'You know what, that guy can really act, that was pretty funny.' I think that role is still in front of me somewhere and I'm looking forward to it.
"Ha ha ha. I don't know about (playing the role of a prominent homosexual) but I'm not opposed to it.
"(What fighters are paid) absolutely is private. There's a confidentiality clause in the contract, so to sit here and discuss it would be in breach of that and I can't do that. I've been called on the carpet for that sort of thing in the past. It's interesting, the public perception is what it is. A lot of the purses are public stated, you can go look that information up, but there is a lot more going on than that. And that's just the way it is. The fighters ... you don't hear a lot of guys bitching.
"Definitely not. It's a tough thing, statistically, to figure out. Who cares what boxers are making? It's not about boxing. I thought we answered that question when James (Toney) stepped up. We're apples and oranges in so many different ways. I don't see a boxing promoter with over 200 employees and trying to get sanctioned in all the different places and carrying their sport around the globe and doing all the things the UFC spends money on and does, either, so, in so many different ways, it's apples and oranges. It's not the same thing.
"I could see a lot of ways I could be involved (behind the scenes working for UFC). Again, I've been to Sacramento and spoke at the House their when we were trying to get it sanctioned in California. There's a huge political lobby going on right now in New York state trying to get it, why not? I would be happy to step up and get involved in that as a representative of our sport. There are a lot of other ways I could be involved and I think Chuck (Liddell) is involved and nobody really knows what Business Development is but I'm glad they gave Chuck an option, they want to keep him. Again, he's been a marquee fighter in the sport for a long, long time, he should be with the organization. We're talking at Zuffa and we'll see how it all shakes out. You know they got a whole new organization now (Strikeforce) that needs a big kick in the butt. Boost up the production level, there's a whole bunch of fighters there, some of which that train right here (Xtreme Couture), my son being one of them, so I have a very very vested interest in seeing that organization continue to thrive and that brand to continue to grow and I think it's probably a good thing that Zuffa bought it and it's going to get the support that it needs to continue to do that. Scott Coker's a great guy. He's one of those few guys in the industry, when he shakes your hand and tells you something's going to happen, by god, it's going to happen, you can count on it. I've always respected him for that.
"I'm 47. (55,000) is just a number, it doesn't matter. It's just a crowd, there will be an energy there, that energy feeds us, we love that energy. I'm not going to be nervous. Nervous implies that something bad is going to happen, something negative is going to happen. Even if I lose this fight, if that's the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I'm doing pretty damn good. So, relax. My training camp has been fantastic, I'm prepared. Go out, let it happen. Whatever happens, happens, I can live with it. I'm going to give it everything I got. It is pretty crazy (to have 55,000 watching my final fight)."