It was reported this week that UFC superstar and former Lightheavyweight title holder Chuck Liddell is rumoured in talks to face UFC Hall of Famer and former Heavyweight champion Randy Couture at a summer event in Germany.
The message from the UFC is clear. As long as you can sell tickets and PPV’s, your opportunities are endless. And if your name is Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture the UFC is best to keep you around as long as that’s happening. Zuffa is hoping to bank on Couture’s fluency in German to help promote the fight and anticipating Liddell’s large drawing power will make the UFC’s first foray into German territory a success. Whether you are excited, troubled or on the fence about this fight, you should consider these reasons why this fight makes the most sense for both the UFC and these two fighters right now.
Both are still huge draws. You don’t see many 45 year old athletes lose a championship and many call it a fluke. In the case of Liddell, you won’t hear many fans asking, if not begging to see a fighter that has lost 3 of his last 4. But that’s precisely what has happened to him. It may take a few more losses to knock the sense into some fans, but the reality is that Chuck has been so lethal with his striking over the years, that all he needs is one punch to turn a fight, and his career completely around.
For the UFC’s International expansion to be a success, they need their big name pioneers on the card. As hard as MMA and the UFC have worked to build a plethora of names throughout the organization, many new fans to the sport wouldn’t know Jon Fitch or Lyoto Machida if they punched them in their faces. Ask the same fans if they know who Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture are and it will be a resounding yes.
The most important reason is that it gives both Liddell and Couture one more big fight that will bring big dollars to them and the UFC. And I’m not talking the fight between Chuck and Randy. I’m talking about the next fight for the winner. If their next fights are against younger more skilled opponent and they lose, then no one will want to see either of them again Who would want to see Randy vs. Chuck when they would have a combined record of 1-6 in their last 7? But the winner of a Chuck vs. Randy fight will set themselves up for at least one more major fight. Anderson Silva vs. Randy Couture anyone? How about Liddell vs. Forest Griffin? Randy vs. Noguiera? Chuck vs. Brock? Yes, I’ll take them all thank you very much.
The UFC owes them this fight. For their pride and their wallets. These two men have built the UFC into what it is today, with blood sweat and tears. When they began their UFC careers, they both fought for peanuts in front of small crowds because they loved to fight. Over the years, the arenas and their wallet got bigger, but they never once wavered from their love for fighting and their understanding that it was the fans that made the sport go round. They have been tremendous ambassadors to the sport and who knows where the UFC would be without them.
No matter how you look at this fight, it’s a win for everyone. The UFC will make money. The fighters will make big money. The fans will see two of the most accomplished men in MMA today fight each other once again, in a fight that will be significant to both the winner and loser.
Finally, it will give one of them one more shot at glory. Something they both need now more than ever.