Page 2 - parts 6 - 10
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges
Born June 22, 1963, Randy Couture, when he turned 35, he became one of UFCís oldest competitors. Around that time experts started saying he wasnít "getting any younger" Ė an intelligent observation in itself Ė and that he was doing surprisingly well to hang in there. They made it sound as though Couture was lucky to be winning his fights.
On June 6, 2003, Randy put his hand up to challenge Chuck Liddell for the light-heavyweight interim title, after it appeared Tito Ortiz was dodging Chuck. People respected Couture for being game enough to step into the Octagon with Liddell - after all, "Randy was pushing 40".
From the techno-theatrical introduction for the "Iceman" and the expert consensus, Chuckís victory appeared to be a foregone conclusion. And despite Couture stopping Liddell in the third round, the "old boy" was once again the underdog at UFC 44 against the youthful Ortiz.
And Randy showed he still had a bit of life left in him. After dominating the fight from start to finish, the father figure symbolically spanked his junior opponent in round five, before being handed a unanimous decision.
By UFC 49: Unfinished Business, the non-believers were starting to believe. But they made allowances for "The Naturalís" recent successes by referring to him as "The Supernatural". However, some critics did question the older fighterís ability to cope with the explosive hand speed of young Vitor Belfort.
After Couture clearly won the first three rounds, the bout was pulled up. Not only had Randy convincingly defeated the three best light heavyweights UFC had to offer, but perhaps even more satisfying for Couture, he had totally embarrassed the sceptics.
Then on April 16, 2005, Chuck Liddell did an incredible job of turning the tables on Randy, and KOíd Couture in the first round. Not surprisingly, the experts were back at full throttle, speculating that The Natural "is past it now". Also not surprising, Couture is back at work.
"Iím in training, but the commission wonít let me spar or have any contact for thirty days. They want to eliminate my getting hit in the head during training after the knockout. I had a scan that night after the fight and everything was clear. There was no damage done. And I recovered pretty much immediately in the ring. It wonít be a problem," says Couture.
Randy believes he was in the best shape of his life for their second meeting, but says Chuck was successful in changing the elements of his game that he felt needed improving. "He did a better job of using his jab and kind of sticking and staying away, and not standing and engaging, which created a vulnerability for him to be taken down the first time we fought. So he was staying away and pot shotting at me.
"I think Iím the one who basically made a mistake. I changed tactics and got fired up after getting poked in the eye, and started chasing him a little too hard, instead of cutting him off like I did for the first minute-and-a-half of the fight. You know, he wasnít going to be able to run for the whole fight like he was running for that first minute-and-a-half. But as soon as I started chasing him and trying to hit him, I created an opening, and he was good enough to capitalise on the opportunity.
"It wasnít like I was angry at him, but it did kinda change my attitude a little bit. I wasnít terribly happy about getting poked in the eye, but I recovered. As you can see, I was fine, so it wasnít really an issue. It kinda made me more determined at that point to get to him. I got to him and he kinda pushed off of my face and poked me in the eye to get away from meÖI was basically over aggressive. I should have stayed relaxed and kept doing what I was doing. I would have gotten to him sooner or later. Instead I was over aggressive and more determined to get to him right then."
Randy has always been like a great military battle-strategist: If something isnít going right, he just goes back to the drawing board and fixes whatever needs fixing. For their next encounter, he will again make some adjustments to his battle plan.
"A lot of what I was prepared to do was spot on. I didnít really get a chance to test some of the ground stuff that I intended to use in the fight, so Iím going to continue refining those techniques and using them in training. Iím reasonably confident they will work against Chuck. Obviously I need to deal with my footwork and with cutting off a fighter who wants to stay away from me. And work on countering and being a little more methodical.
"If Iíve had a fault in the past, itís been that I have a tendency to be a little over aggressive as well. In the first Pedro (Rizzo) fight, that put me in trouble a few times. IĎve been in those situations where I tend to be over aggressive. So continuing to learn and being a little more in control, I have to work on that."
Randy, through these battles, especially where youíre involved, MMA is just being taken to newer heights where itís never been explored before, isnít it?
"I know, personally, Iím getting better all the time through constantly striving to compete at a higher level. I think the sport in general is certainly continuing to progress and evolve. All the fighters are constantly improving their conditioning, improving their techniques, and doing new things. So I, like a lot of the fighters in the game, have to keep up.
"And Iíve been in this situation before where, ĎOh, heís forty-one and he got knocked out.í They want to count me out, say Iím done, and that itís over for me. That just makes it so much better when I come back."
But that attitude is so dumb, isnít it? What youíre doing, and at the level youíre fighting at, they should be grateful. Youíre just showing people what they could be doing with their lives. Youíre not just helping martial artists, youíre helping people in anything theyíre doing in life. Youíre such an inspiration.
"I appreciate that, but theyíre going to do what theyíre going to do."
Thereís talk of a rematch with you and Chuck for January, 2006.
"Thatís what Iíve heard. Itís not official yet, but that date has been mentioned, and I think that will be great. Obviously sooner would be better for me, but I understand they want to build that up. Chuck and I will probably fight somebody else in the meantime, and I think it will be very good."
Are you lined up for UFC 54 yet?
"Weíve talked about it, but nothing is signed yet. Weíre still trying to work on an opponent, and I think that the August show will probably be my next fight."
I was going to ask who your next unlucky opponent is going to be.
"Yeah. You kinda donít want to be the next opponent after a loss. Theyíre speculating. Ken Shamrockís name has come up. Babalu has been doing very well and looks good in the division. Or it could be somebody totally new. Who knows?"
Randy, is there anything youíd like to add?
"No, I donít think so. I think youíve got it covered."
"Sportsbook.com, Rockstar Energy Drink, HCK.com, 24 Hour Fitness, and Benchmade Knives."
For more on Randy Couture: www.randycouture.tv.
For more on UFC: www.ufc.tv.
Cleared, Licensed and Certified to Cause Mayhem
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges
UFCís former Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture, is poised like a Condong cane-cutterís machete at harvest time, and ready to slash through anyone who stands in the way of his retrieving the Light-Heavyweight Championship Title.
At UFC 54: Boiling Point, the man in Coutureís path will be the respected wrestler, Mike Van Arsdale (10-1), who defeated John Marsh at UFC 52. And Randy says his preparation for the upcoming bout is on schedule. "Itís been going really well. I had to take the mandatory 30 days off for the commission, but that wasnít really that big a deal. And Iíve been cleared, licensed and certified to fight for August 20 against Mike. So Iím ready to go," says Couture.
As well as Randy and Chuck Liddell competing against each other in April at UFC 52: Couture vs Liddell 2, they also coached the opposing teams for The Ultimate Fighter series. And Randy has no trouble picking the match that stands out in his mind from the live-to-air finale.
"Oh, thereís no doubt: The Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar fight was one of the best fights Iíve ever seen. That was a fantastic battle. Those guys showed a lot of heart, brawledÖAnd I donít think you could have scripted a better fight for the first free-TV, UFC. It was great."
Many fighters, such as Pat Miletich and John Hackleman, have said they find the experience of watching from ringside more harrowing than actually competing. In his role as a coach, Randy experienced this same emotion.
"I was excited. I get a little more nervous watching the other guys fighting than I do when Iím fighting. But Griffin vs Bonnar was such a great fight. I was on my feet just about the whole time. It was awesome."
And Randy agrees that training competitors from the series did bring back memories of a younger, greener Couture. "Yes, to some extent. Especially the guys I came across who had wrestling backgrounds. They were trying to put together their wrestling techniques and develop some fighting skills, so I definitely saw myself in them."
It seems this super-fit athlete fighting out of Oregon also has boundless energy outside the Octagon, and will be teaming up with Bas Rutten on July 23 and 24 to hold a training camp in Gastonia, North Carolina. Randy says he is looking forward to sharing seminars with the three-time King of Pancrase and two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, Rutten.
"The same person - Jeremy Lappen - manages us, and we have the same assistant - Shannon. Bas came up to Sport Fight and Team Quest, so we did some seminars and training together before the Liddell fight. And we just get along very well. Shannon put together some seminars that Bas and I work together, and I think itís going to be great.
"It will be geared towards any skill level, focusing on fundamental skills and philosophies for Mixed Martial Arts - incorporating submissions and striking. I think anybody would get something out of it, for sure. Youíre going to see some wrestling flavour as it applies to Mixed Martial Arts. And Bas is obviously a great submission fighter and a very, very good striker. So youíre going to get that perspective from him. I think the two fit together pretty nicely.
"Iíll be doing the Greco- and the takedown-wrestling, and making those transitions to fighting positions. Bas will be handling a lot more of the strikes - kicking and punching, and some of the submission stuff that he likes as well."
Fight fans will also have the opportunity to witness Couture putting his techniques and experience into practise at UFC 54.
Randy, what will Mike Van Arsdaleís strategy be against you?
"I think itís pretty clear. Heís going to want to take me down, use his wrestling skills to put me on the ground and keep me there. Heís not a striker. Heís not a great submission guy. But heís got great wrestling skills, and heís a very good athlete. So Iím sure heís going to try to set me up, take me down, put me on the ground and keep me there."
But youíre at home on the ground, arenít you?
"Yeah, I think that will be fine. I donít plan on spending a lot of rounds on my back. Iím going to scramble to find the ground, but to find it in the top position on the ground. So it should be good. Iíve been focusing a lot on my hands. I think itís an area where I can dominate this fight Ė being sharp and letting my hands go. And fighting for every position in those takedown scrambles, and making him work real hard.
"He really has nothing to lose in this fight. On paper, no one really expects him to come out and beat me. So he can just go out and compete. If he loses, everyoneís going to say, ĎWell, he lost.í And if he wins, he looks great anyway, soÖ He doesnít really have any pressure. He just has to do what he needs to do. Iím the one coming off a loss, so Iíve got to be sharp and get myself back on track to wear the belt again."
How will you win this match?
"I think, realistically, probably the same way I win a lot of them: I think Iíll find my way to the top position and I think heís going to have a lot of trouble getting back up."
So the groundínípound?
"More than likely, yeah."
And can Jeremy Horn stop Chuck in their bout?
"I think he can. I think Chuckís got his hands full with Jeremy. Heís a very experienced competitor. Heís got over 100 fights. He stopped Chuck once before. I think Jeremyís stand-up game has improved immensely since I fought him years ago. Heís always been dangerous on the ground, and I think heís taking this seriously. Heís in the best shape that Iíve seen him in, and I hope that Chuck is taking him seriously and comes prepared for a battle."
Will you be fighting Jeremy Horn?
"Well, if he wins, Iíll be looking to fight Jeremy Horn. Whoeverís wearing that belt is the next guy I want to step in there with. Obviously, from a marketing perspective it would be a much bigger fight against Chuck, but thatís not really my issue."
Do you still have the same sponsors?
"Sportsbook.com, Rockstar Energy Drink, HCK.com, 24 Hour Fitness, and Benchmade Knives.
For more on Randy Couture and his seminars with Bas Rutten: www.randycouture.tv
For more on UFC 54: Boiling Point: www.ufc.tv
The Natural Enjoys Sake Between Workouts!
Randy "The Natural" Couture
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright
2004 Zuffa LLC
Itís gone noon on Friday, January 21, 2006, and Randy Couture is relaxing after his first workout of the day Ė just two weeks before the biggest fight in UFC history is scheduled to take place.
On February 4, UFCís former light-heavyweight champion, Randy, and reigning light-heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell, will face off for Liddell vs Couture III. And while fans bought out tickets for this showdown at MGM in a record time of under a week, no one is as keen for the show to come around as Randy. "Oh, man, I canít wait. It canít get here quick enough," says Couture.
During the break between gym sessions, Randy took time to talk about this upcoming historic battle. "Iím in Las Vegas. I live here now and Iím into a couple of weeksí training. [Barking in the background]. Iím winding down and getting ready to go. I havenít lived in Oregon for 10 months."
The thing that really stands out with Randy ĎThe Naturalí Couture and Chuck ĎThe Icemaní Liddell is the way they are so natural and cool leading up to the most anticipated event in mixed martial arts history. The level of professionalism from both modern-day gladiators is undeniable.
"I just got home from having lunch with Andrei Arlovski. Heís been here all week, working out with me. Iím just kinda relaxing and getting ready to go again tonight at about 8.30. Iím sitting down and relaxing with my daughter and girlfriend. [More demanding barking in the background].
"Iíve got a little puppy here and Iím playing with him. Heís a little Japanese dog called a shiba inu Ė a very interesting dog. Iíd never heard of them before, but my girlfriend found him and fell in love with him. We picked him up for her for Christmas. A very smart dog and he looks like a miniature Akita. His name is Sake. Heís got a curly tail and heís all white."
For these elite athletes, so much of a fightís outcome is determined by their preparation leading up to a battle, and Randy is confident his game is on track. "Itís fantastic. Iíve had a great few weeksí training camp up at Colorado, working in the thin air of the Rockies with some good partners, doing some good workouts up there. I got back last weekend and Iíve been finishing up my last nine or ten days of preparation here in Vegas.
"Andrei Arlovski came into town so that was a nice treat. Heís going to come back next week and help me some more, so itís been good to work out with him. Heís a great big guy. Itís kinda nice to not be the biggest guy in the gym for a change. Weíre just putting the finishing touches on itÖfeeling fantastic, and ready to go."
Most MMA enthusiasts are assuming Randy will want to take the fight straight to the ground, and that Chuck will want to keep it standing. But in Coutureís first meeting with Liddell, Randy agrees he out-scored Chuck in the toe-to-toe confrontation.
"Yeah, thatís kinda the way it ended up going, and I put him on the ground as often as I could. But I think youíve got to be willing to engage a guy on his feet to get him to open up, before youíre going to be able to take him down. So I donít expect it to be any different this time. Iíve got to be prepared to engage Chuck on his feet Ė make him swing at me, make him punch Ė and through that, the opportunities to take him down will come."
Randy concedes a ground scenario would not only work in his favour, but would work against Chuck in the mind-games aspect of battle. "Well, I think psychologically it has an effectÖpicking him up and putting him on the groundÖHe doesnít really want to be there. I certainly feel confident and strong on the ground. I feel I can make him work, and dominate the fight from that position."
Randy Couture vs Mike van Arsdale at UFC 54
Randy, have you been keeping a low profile leading up to this fight?
"I havenít been travelling too much Ė just pretty much knuckled down and gotten into training. Iíve given myself about 12 weeksí preparation for this fight instead of the usual 10. And itís been going really well. I had the luxury of working out at the UFC Training Center for the last two and a half months. And now this past week, the third season of The Ultimate Fighter has started filming, so I have to go elsewhere for the last two weeks of my title, but itís been no problem. Iíve had great facilities and a great crew of guys, so itís been very, very good."
When you talk about the UFC Training Center, thatís not too public, is it?
"No. Itís not open to the public at all. They were nice enough to give me a key to go and train whenever I want. There were no shows, so it was just sitting there empty, waiting for the third season to commence. Itís an awesome facility Ė full cage, boxing ring, mats, treadmills, weightsÖthe whole deal. Itís a great place to train Ė especially when you have it all to yourself."
And you donít have to worry about your preparation being observed?
"No. Iím never too worried about that. There are no secrets. I know, ultimately, what Chuckís style of fighting is, and what he would like to do, within the realm of techniques. And he has an idea of what Iím going to try to do to him as well. There aren't any real secrets."
In your matches against Pedro Rizzo (UFCs 31& 34) and Vitor Belfort (UFCs 46 & 49), your opponents suffered the consequences in the rematches. Do you expect this to be a similar deal for Chuck?
"I feel confident that Iím prepared and that Iím as good a fighter as Iíve ever been right now. I know, going into our last meeting, I had some personal issues and distractions going on. It didnít put me in the best of places for going out and competing. And I donít make excuses: I was still prepared and I trained hard. I went out, made a technical mistake, and put myself in a position for Chuck to land a shot.
"I donít think itís going to be the same this time. In fact, I dare him to try and knock me out again. If he tries to take my head off, itís just going to make it that much easier for me to deal with him."
Do you expect this fight to be a long one?
"I donít think so. It certainly could go that way, but in my opinion, Chuckís never really been known for his conditioning and longevity. [Saki barks in agreement]. He tries to get you out there as early as he can. And the longer the fight goes, I think, the better it is for me. I expect if I impress my will upon Chuck, and make him work hard Ė take him down a few times, and get in his face and stay on him, I can wear him down. And hopefully by the third or fourth round, I can take him out. Iím prepared to go as long as I need to go."
How are you going to win this fight Ė by groundínípound, then?
"I think eventually thatís what it will come to. I plan to engage and put him on the ground as many times as I need to, until heís tired of getting back up. And then itís over."
Will there be a Couture vs Liddell IV?
"Oh, I doubt it. This kinda settles the score. A trilogy makes sense. I donít know that a fourth one would ever make sense."
I also asked Chuck this question: Will fight fans look back on the Couture vs Liddell trilogy in the same way as, say, the Ali vs Frazier classic battles?
"Well, that would be nice. I think certainly in MMA you could make that jump, and equate it to that kind of rivalry, but those are pretty special guys, so to be thought of in the same sentence as those guys is pretty cool for me. I suppose in this world Ė obviously we havenít gotten the recognition that Ali or Frazier had, but for our realm of fighting, Chuck and I have done pretty well for ourselves. Weíve tried real hard to represent our sport in a positive way. And weíve kinda managed to pull that off, soÖ"
Randy, is there anything youíd like to add?
"Just a Ďhelloí to the fans. I hope everybody enjoys the fight. I think itís going to be the biggest UFC ever. Itís shaping up that way. I donít know how long itís going to take to be aired Down Under Ė so you can all see it down there. But I have a lot of friends and fans in Australia as well. I hope everybody enjoys it, and Iím looking forward to getting out there and getting after it."
"Rockstar Energy Drink, HCK.com, Benchmade Knives, and Fizogen."
Randy Couture g'n'p-ing Mike van Arsdale
For more on UFC 57: www.ufc.tv.
Retirementís No Joke for The Natural
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges
Itís June 2, 2006, and Randy ĎThe Naturalí Couture is taking time out from his many business calls to answer yet another phone for this interview.
Fortunately, Randy has his offsider, a shiba inu, to share the burden. And how is Sake bearing up to the brunt of this massive workload? "Heís good. Heís seven months old and sitting right here, looking at me," says Couture from his home in Las Vegas.
After UFC 57, Randy announced his retirement, but as with many retirees, this just signalled a time to crank things up a notch, rather than an opportunity to put the feet up. So what exactly has The Natural been doing since placing his MMA career in mothballs?
"What havenít I been doing? Holy moly, itís crazy. Itís been good, though. At this rate, I think Iíll be praying for a ten-week training camp so I can just eat, sleep and train. Iíve been doing a lot of appearances, stuff for sponsors, and for the USO (United Service Organisation), working for the UFCÖ
"And Iím probably going to be joining forces with Marc Ratner, working on the sanctioning process in all 50 states. The sport is currently sanctioned in twenty states, and weíd like to knock the other thirty states down Ė get everybody on the same page. Kinda close any loopholes for anybody who might want to throw on an unregulated show and get somebody hurt."
Randy has also completed a TV commercial for Direct TV; done an episode of King of Queens with Kevin James; had a small acting part in a movie with Rob Schneider called Big Stan; and right now, heís working as a coach on the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
Looking back on his third bout with Chuck Liddell, Couture says there is little he would have changed with his approach to the fight. "I think if I were going to change anything, Iíd maybe be a little more aggressive. I think in the second fight, I was over-aggressive, and thatís what put me in trouble. Maybe I overcompensated in the third fight and could have been a little more aggressive, kept the pressure on, and attacked him just a little more. But other than that, I donít believe thereís a whole lot you can change: Things happen the way they happen."
Randy proved himself to be one of the most successful gladiators in UFC history Ė both in the heavyweight and light-heavyweight divisions, but at this stage, he does not intend coming out of retirement. "I donít have any plans to. Iím pretty comfortable with my decision to retire. When I signed the contract for the third fight, I told them it was going to be my last fight Ė win or lose."
Randy, are you still training hard?
"Yeah, Iím still training. Itís just been a little difficult with all the travel and stuff, but itís been nice being involved with the fourth season of TUF. I train pretty much daily with the guys from the show, and itís a good crew of guys, so itís fun."
Whatís the story with the USO?
"Itís inter-service related. It doesnít matter which service they are from, they support all troops. Bob Hope was huge in the USO. He used to do concerts in Vietnam and all sorts of places. Weíve pretty much limited our appearances to stateside here, but theyíre talking about sending us to Iraq or Afghanistan, doing shows for the soldiers that are stationed overseas."
Will you be singing at those appearances?
"Ahhh, I definitely wonít be singing at those appearances. If I do, it will be my last USO tour."
Were you surprised with Tim Sylviaís defeat of Andrei?
"I donít know if Ďsurprisedí is the right word. Tim certainly possesses the ability to create that sort of outcome. By most peopleís estimation, Andrei Arlovski was looking unstoppable. He was dismantling everybodyÖHeís a big, strong athleteÖAnd it looked like things were still going to be going his way. He caught Tim with the overhand right again and hurt him.
"To Timís credit, he popped right back up, and, I think, caught Andrei being a little over-aggressive. Probably because Tim had been talking so much trash, Andrei wanted to really hurt him. Timís a big, strong, long guy to land a shot, soÖ I donít think you can ever count Tim out. Heís such a hard worker, that I think heís always going to be in every fight."
Would you say you couldnít count Andrei out either?
"Well I think weíre going to see that fight again in July. A lot of people are excited. Sure Timís the champ, but I think heís going to be the underdog again, because an athlete like Andrei is a pretty rare thing. The guyís 245 pounds, and to possess the ability that he has, plus speed, strength, and agility, heís pretty impressive."
Can the techniques of MMA fighting continue to evolve, or have all the systems been swallowed up and refined?
"I think thereís more to be learned. Although we continue to refine it, and stylise ourselves as fighters, things kinda seem to go in cycles. Guys find new angles and approaches, using some of the old tools, but they implement them in different ways and create trends. I think youíre seeing a trend in stand-up fighting right now, but I believe there are certainly still areas that can be refined. I think the Greco clinch-work with the Thai fighting is still fairly untapped. There are not a lot of guys using that to full advantage. I think youíll see ground fighting and submissions come back to the forefront too, so I think weíre going to continue to evolve."
How did your trip to Fort Bragg go?
"It went really well. I went skydiving with the Golden Knights and 82nd Airborne. And got to go out to the range and shoot with the 7th Special Forces group Ė fired some weapons and shot a lot of rounds. It was a good couple of days."
What sort of weapons did you use?
"We shot the M-4 and .45 pistols."
Did you show them up?
"Ah, I held my own, but I donít know if I showed anybody up. But I did alright."
Randy, do you have training facilities that the public can train at?
"Yeah, if they look up www.legendsmma.com, thatís my new training center in Los Angeles. We open in a couple of weeks Ė probably the last week in June."
Randy is sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink and Fizogen.
For more on Randy Couture, check out his new site at www.thenatural.tv.
ďAs Long as Itís Intriguing and Interesting, Iím All For ItĒ
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Couture is in LA at the time of this interview and will be here for the
next two days, before heading up to Portland, Oregon, to take care of
some business there for a few more days, and to see his four-year-old
son, Caden, who Randy says is apparently training for a bout with Cro-Cop.
Then heís traveling back down to Vegas over the weekend for the WEC
being the only athlete to hold UFC titles in two different weight
divisions, Randy has now gone from heavyweight to light heavyweight, and
amazingly, back up to reclaiming the heavyweight crown after recently
defeating Tim Sylvia.
was a good night: Anytime when it all comes together like thatÖ It
doesnít happen all the time, but it sure was a blast,Ē says Couture
of his UFC 68 victory. Although a non-drinker, Randy has been know to
let his hair down after some of his biggest wins, but says he hasnít
had time to toast his unanimous decision at The Uprising. ďNot
yet, itís been a whirlwind the last three weeks.Ē
with the accolades, Randy is also the recipient of many matchmaking
suggestions for his next bout, so itís only natural that one would
expect The Natural to be deep into some serious training for
whoever his next game opponent might be. But when youíre as big a star
as Randy Couture, training doesnít always come easy. ďIíve
been trying to train Ė I started back last week but itís been a
hit-and-miss with the traveling and all thatís going on.Ē
when everything in life seems to be a little too crazy, Randy has one
stable influence on his hectic lifestyle: his canine counselor.
ďSakeís doing great Ė heís awesome. He gets a little lonely when
weíre gone for too long and heíll chew things up.Ē Just goes to
show: Even counselors need a little therapy from time to time.
do you think you got into Timís head before the fight?
donít know if I got into his head before the fight, but Iím pretty
sure I got into his head with that first punch.Ē
You have an ability to psyche out many of your opponents before fights start, such as Vitor Belfort, donít you?
ďI certainly feel that was the case with Vitor, but I think that was residualÖ something from years ago when we first fought. With Tim, itís possible because heís an emotional fighter who tries to generate animosity between himself and his opponent, and obviously with our being friends, he couldnít really do that. So that could have affected him a little bit. But Tim comes to fight, and more than anything, I think he didnít know whether I was going to throw a punch or get a shoot.Ē
Was Jay Hieron behind the left leg-kick/overhand right tactic, or was it your own plan?
was a particular combination I worked on at a training camp with a Muay
Thai instructor, looking at the case with Tim where he stands real firm
on his lead foot, especially when he throws a jab; so I thought if I
timed it right and kicked his lead leg, it would open his legs and
unbalance him a little bit. And then Iíd follow with the overhand
right and left hook. The first combination I threw, I didnít get to
the left hook Ė he was already on his butt.Ē
From the footage, it looked as though you were almost as stunned at the result of your attack as Tim was.
was absolutely shocked. I think I was about five feet away before it
registered what had happened, and I had to run over there. I think I was
as surprised as anybody in the stadium.Ē
you have to make many changes to your stand-up game for Tim?
really; the biggest thing was getting a bunch of big partners who could
simulate Timís range and that weight difference, and I was fortunate
to get that done. I had Dan Christison, Frank Mir, Dan Evans, and Wes
SimsÖ all north of 270 and most of them over 6í5Ē. So it was a
good crew Ė they beat the snot out of me for the first couple of
you disappointed you couldnít terminate the fight on the ground?
I was kinda surprised I wasnít more effective there: Tim did a very
good job of defending himself on the ground, and heís got a great camp
who prepared him well for that phase of the fight, and I donít think
he expected me to be so effective on the feet. So it was a trade-off. In
hindsight, I was kinda happy it didnít end in the first thirty seconds
Ė it would have left the question, was it a lucky punch? So to have it
go five rounds in fairly dominant fashion, I think, was a better way for
it to happen.Ē
Tim seemed to have a lot of power in his thighs when fighting from his back. Was that the case?
heís so damn long, and in the guard, to get up there and reach his
headÖ I tried to work his body a lot, and Iíd hoped to pass and get
a more effective body position. But even getting to the side Ė heís
so big and you still feel precarious on the side where youíre a little
weary to get up and strike or do anything. But itís the way the game
is, I guess.Ē
When you were going for the rear naked choke and you were kicking Tim in the face, did you have a bit of a chuckle to yourself then?
I was punching him in the face?Ē
No, you had his back, and he was grabbing your wrists, stopping you from applying the rear naked choke, and you kicked up into his face while you had his back.
ďWith my foot? No, I donít remember that.Ē
Have you looked at the replay? The toes of your right foot nearly go into Timís right eye.
ďYeah, I watched it once, but I donít remember my foot getting up thereÖOh, I know what I was trying to do: I was trying to trap his arm with my leg so he wouldnít have a free hand to tie up my wrists. I worked on that little technique with Dean Lister to kinda spur in and trap his arm to his side, but I could never really get up high enough to trap Timís arm.Ē
there be a rematch?
that Iíve heard: I donít know why there would be. Iím not sure
what his contract reads, but I donít expect Iíll be around long
enough to see that happen.Ē
That sounds like Sean Connery: ďNever say never again.Ē
next for you Ė Gabriel ĎNapaoí Gonzaga or Cro-Cop?
sounds like theyíre going to wanna match me up with the winner of the
Gonzaga vs. Cro-Cop fight.Ē
Is there any chance you and Chuck Liddell will be putting both belts on the line; winner take all? Or will you stay at heavyweight for the time being?
not heardÖ Everybody keeps asking me about Chuck, and I donít know
what Chuck wants to do, but I think he has his hands full in May with
Rampage Jackson. Letís see what happens after that fight.Ē
Everyone knows thereís no one youíd ever shy away from, but is there anything in particular that you would like to do?
what they present: As long as itís intriguing and interesting, Iím
all for it.Ē
the actual training changed since you first stepped into the Octagon at
refined my training more, and Iíve learnt to rest more the week of the
fight. Iíve constantly tried to implement new training tools, and
refined the training habits to help me peak for competition. The changes
have been pretty subtle, but it is a constant learning process Ė
youíre constantly learning new skills and finding the best way to get
yourself in shape.
now, Iím playing around a little bit with kettlebells as a replacement
for the weights circuits that Iíve been using. I donít know if
itís going to work or if itís going to replace, or how Iíll feel
about that, but Iím employing that as another training method right
now Ė itís an ever-changing process.Ē
is there anything youíd like to add?
I think youíve covered everything.Ē
Fitness, Volant, and Couture Nutrition.Ē
Readers can check out Randyís MMA gym, which is open to the general public, at www.xtremecouture.tv.
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