This is not a hoax. I repeat, this is for real.
MMAWeekly.com is reporting unbelievable news:
Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture (14-8) is coming out of retirement to face current UFC Heavyweight title holder Tim Sylvia (23-2) at UFC 68 on March 3.
Just yesterday, you read here that Couture would appear on "Inside the UFC" to make a "big" announcement. I was a bit skeptical that it would truly be big — certainly not this big.
Well, as I hoped, I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
Now, UFC.com is saying that the announcement will, "send shockwaves throughout the mixed martial arts world."
Um, that might be an understatement.
Here's a snip from MMAWeekly.com:
"... Randy "The Natural" Couture is set to announce his return from retirement. Never one to sidestep a challenge, his first opponent is to be UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia.... Sylvia poses a difficult task for Couture. He is much larger than Couture, cutting weight to make the 265-pound limit of the heavyweight division and stands 6'8" tall. Couture has had difficulty with larger fighters in the past, he lost to both Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez, neither of which has the size of Sylvia."
I really can't get my arms around this match up – it is the last thing I was expecting.
With all the statements he was making about a return, it was clear Couture was itching to get back in the Octagon. He volunteered to rematch Tito Ortiz (15-5) in the run up to UFC 66, but it appears that he has moved onto bigger (and better?) things.
Sylvia was first rumored to face Brandon Vera (8-0) at UFC 68, but that fight fizzled once "The Truth" started looking at other promotions for a bigger paycheck. Then, Gabriel Gonzaga (7-1) emerged as a possible opponent after his string of victories in the Octagon, most recently against Carmello Marrero at UFC 66 (6-1).
Now, it appears that "Captain America" will be Sylvia's likely opponent in Columbus, Ohio.
It should be a huge test for Couture, who will certainly have the fans in his corner. At 43-years-old, he hasn't fought at heavyweight since 2002 (Rodriguez) and he hasn't fought an MMA bout since losing to Chuck Liddell (20-3) at UFC 57 in February 2006.
Couture has recently gone on record as saying that Sylvia has been fighting "not to lose" and that guys like Sylvia are one of the reasons he cut down to 205.Here's a snip from Couture just a few weeks ago on a rumored fight with Sylvia:
I am walking around now at 230lbs, back to my heavyweight days, and can certainly go back and compete in that division, but Tim's one of the reasons why I chose to go down to light-heavyweight. When guys are starting to be 6'5"-6'10", cutting weight to make the [265lb] limit – that's a big man...he's a very good fighter, very skilled and when you start giving up that kind of weight, you are at a disadvantage and it can be a big problem. No one has seriously approached me with an opportunity to fight Tim Sylvia, so it's all one in the same, rumors.
Couture certainly has his work cut out for him on March 3. But, the great thing about Randy is that you can never count him out -- he might just have a surprise in store for us on March 3.