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Randy Couture on UFC 68: ‘This situation just feltright'

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In the second part of an NBCSports.com interview with Randy Couture (14-8), "The Natural" cites his quest for new challenges as the overriding factor that influenced his decision to return to the UFC as a heavyweight.

Here's a snip:

"I probably could've pushed and gotten into the light-heavyweight division if I wanted to. But I'd be looking at pretty much the same guys. The only new guy is Quinton Jackson. This situation just felt right. It was the right opportunity; the right time in my life; the right matchup."

Couture will throwdown with friend and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia in a little more than a week at UFC 68 on March 3. It will be Couture's first fight in the division since a punishing loss to Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 39 in 2002.

Here's more from Couture on how their friendship might affect the outcome of the fight:

"I don't know. Not from my perspective. When Tim was aspiring to be the heavyweight champion, he stayed at my house and we trained together. I think we learned a lot from each other and developed a friendship. That friendship is still intact, and I don't think this fight will affect that friendship one way or another.

I don't have an issue with it. I come from a wrestling background where that sort of thing is commonplace, where you wrestle your best friend or your teammates who you bleed with every day for that spot on the team, that chance to compete. So I think wrestlers have a different mentality about that sort of thing. Now, Tim on the other hand tends to be a little more emotional athlete who has to garner some animosity towards his opponent. He likes to talk a little trash, and I'm not sure how the friendship is affecting his ability to get the right mindset. But that's not my issue."

The article also gets thoughts from Couture regarding his desire to fight the dangerous Mirko "Cro Cop" at some point during his new four-fight UFC contract.

Yes, at almost 44 years old, he may have already lost his mind.