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Does Couture benefit from Liddell losing?

At the risk of sounding like a mark, I’ve planned a vacation around UFC 79 in December because like a lot of other people out there, I’ve been waiting to see Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva for five years now.

I’m not actually rooting for one fighter over the other as I’m just rooting for a good fight. I’ve been a fan of both for so long now and seeing two icons in the cage together throwing down against each other is going to be surreal to me irrespective of the fact that both are coming off consecutive losses.

While I’m not rooting for one fighter over the other, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a prediction. In my mind, I have little doubt that Wanderlei Silva is going to give Chuck his third consecutive loss and really put Liddell’s career at a crossroads.

Liddell has utilized his excellent takedown defense to allow him to dominate wrestlers and top Jiu-Jitsu players but has struggled against strong strikers such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Keith Jardine. I can’t help but wonder if Liddell would have had as dominant of a run as the UFC light heavyweight champion if there had been more top strikers in the UFC at 205 lbs.?

Silva has a style that just does not mesh well with Chuck’s and while it’s a fight I believe Liddell can win, it’s a fight I don’t think he will win. I envision the two exchanging bombs in the center of the Octagon with Chuck hitting the canvas and Silva looking down at him.

One other thing to consider is the tactical element.

Anyone who reads this site knows that I wasn’t crazy about Liddell’s gameplan during his loss to Jardine at UFC 76. Liddell’s trainer, John Hackleman, took issue with my critique but it isn’t like I was the only one who felt that Liddell’s strategy was lacking.

He better have a tight gameplan for Wanderlei because Silva apparently has been spending some time recently at Xtreme Couture as he prepares for UFC 79. ProElite.com interviewed fighters from Xtreme Couture to get their reaction to Randy Couture’s comments at his press conference on Thursday and one of the fighters interviewed was none other than Silva.

Silva spent time at Xtreme Couture in August and there were rumors at the time that he would joining Couture’s camp as an instructor. That never happened and Silva initially called Florida home upon moving from Brazil to the U.S. He split from Florida not soon after he moved and now calls Vegas home. I couldn’t tell you whether Silva is a full-time member with Xtreme Couture but it’s no secret that he continues to train there. I find it interesting that he’s working with a fighter in Randy Couture who has fought Liddell on three occasions. What kind of knowledge do you think Randy is passing onto Wanderlei?

It wouldn’t surprise me if Couture is giving Silva a lot of time and attention as I can’t help but feel that Couture has a vested interest in Liddell losing. I think it goes without saying that Couture isn’t too happy with the UFC right now and we all know that Dana White considers Liddell his closest friend in the fight game.

According to White, Couture is the second highest paid fighter in the UFC with Liddell ranking ahead of him. If Liddell loses his third straight fight don’t you think Randy might be able to make a strong case that he deserves to be paid more than Liddell?

Not only does a loss by Liddell improve Randy’s market value, but it could be a way for Couture to enact a measure of revenge against Dana.

You can’t tell me that Couture won’t benefit by Liddell losing to Silva at UFC 79.

23 COMMENTS
  • Mike Olson says:

    I have to agree that it would be a very good thing for Couture should Chuck lose. It does give him bargaining power with the UFC, but I don’t really think he even wants that at this time. I think he has only one fight that he would take on any pay scale, and that is with Fedor. I want this fight to happen so badly, and wish the UFC would release Randy from his contract. Perhaps he would come back and do the commentary, a role he fills with both expertise and SKILL, should the UFC give what he wants.

    Silva vs. Liddell can’t happen soon enough, and I am just glad the UFC had the sense to put the fight on even though Liddell lost to Jardine. I am in agreement that Liddell will end up seeing a crazed Brazilian standing over him when the fight is over. I love Chuck, but just can’t see him changing anything in his fight game. As you watched him fight over the years his style has never changed. His game plan has always been the same. I love to see him fight because I enjoy watching two fighters go toe-to-toe to see who the better man is on that particular night. Great article and insight!

  • Mike Huckaby says:

    I’ve been on the same “Liddell can’t fight strikers” wagon for 2 or 3 years but I always thought Wandy was the exception. While everything you said is true, Wandy’s looping, aggressive style fits perfectly with Chuck’s counter punching.

  • Zurich says:

    I don’t know… between Chuck’s partying and Wandy’s banged up brain, I’m not sure who will come ahead. Wand has a lot to adjust to – UFC, cage, drug testing, and immense pressure. Chuck is at home and got everything he wanted – Wand in his backyard. So.. this one is too tough to call. I’m leading towards Chuck though.. Wand’s sloppy hooks vs. Chuck’s long arms and KO power makes for a bad match up for Wand.

  • Carson says:

    Man I can’t wait for this fight. I hope Wandy smashes Chuck.

  • Mike Huckaby says:

    “drug testing”

    Aren’t reports out that Wandy is under 200lbs? I’m all about giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming innocence but in Wandy’s case he’s about the most obvious guy from PRIDE I can imagine.

  • Doug D says:

    I’m leaning toward Wandy myself.

    My only question about Silva is the drug testing. He shouldn’t have a problem fighting in a cage because I doubt either fighter will try to take it to the ground unless they’re in serious trouble and trying to slow things down.

    I believe Chuck has lost some of his instinctive hand speed and reaction time. Both of those elements of his fight game are crucial to his continued success. Against an opponent of Silva’s level, that should spell TROUBLE for Liddell.

  • Mike Rome says:

    Wand has been seen by someone I know looking like he’s 190-200. Chuck will be cutting from 230 for this fight, the size difference is going to be very big. I think Chuck will KO him in the first round, much of his pride dominance was an illusion.

    Sam, you really think there’s still a chance of reconciliation with Randy and the UFC?

  • HexRei says:

    Hey mike, those two KO’s of Rampage were not illusions, they were brutal, his KO of sakuraba was pretty damn good too. I’m not pride nuthugger but those were pretty damn decisive.

  • Gabber says:

    Man, I am stoked for this FIGHT!!! This is going to be awesome and will be more of an main event in my mind then the Serra vs Hughes match (if you look at the banners on the UFC website they fell the same way, last I checked these were the two faces). I think Chuck’s biggest problem but his most endearing factor up to this point has been his gameplan. Let them (whoever I’m fighting) come out, come at me and counter punch. It was evident in the Rampage fight that he wouldn’t chase Chuck, once he goaded Chuck into coming at him, he dropped him. A body shot from the outside is always a safe punch if your backpedalling, not coming forward. One the other hand, Wandy has looked vulnerable in his last two fights, he was torn apart by Cro-Cop, which could be argued is better suited at 205 and Hendo who prefers 205 over 185. So, for me, it’s a battle between two of the sports biggest icons over the 3-5 years, not nesscessarily guys who have a legit title shot. Another strike against Wandy is Pride guys (even though he started in the cage) have had a hard time making the transition. But training with a gameplan master like Couture, the pointers he can take from Jardine undressing Liddell for 3 rounds, I’m going Wandy for the KO in the 2nd.

    I would have to agree that Chuck’s reign wouldn’t have been nearly as dominant if he would have faced some serious strikers instead of grappler only LHW division. How can anyone forget the near defeat to Vernon White that he just pulled out from nowhere, he was getting worked hard for most of that match.

    As for Randy…

    “…Randy might be able to make a strong case that he deserves to be paid more than Liddell?”

    Man, this dude is already under contract (for a very nice sum), how does he get the right to re-negotiate in the middle of it? I think it’s ridiculous, if anything and they had a fighters union, he’d be stuck where he is in that contract, just like any NFLer that signs a deal and starts throwing up numbers. I still can’t believe he wants a new contract (if he does) and he’s making as much as he is, I was floored by the numbers Sean Sherk was making for endorsements, I can just imagine how much Couture was making on top of his 1.1-1.3 mil salary per fight.

    Sorry to get off topic, but with regards to a fighters union how would that work? Any player’s union for sports (NFL, NBA, NHL) has a contract with a single entity, how would you be able to deal with multiple fight organizations and make things uniform across the board without unified rules? I guess it’s speculation at this point, but Sam Caplan and Adam Morgan are definelty more well versed on pro sports then I am, so maybe you could help me out?

    Go Wandy.

  • Gabber says:

    I should really spell check. Sorry it’s early.

  • ttt says:

    i read on a “popular mma forum” that Wanderlei spent all of 12 minutes working with couture, but perhaps he is gaining a lot by working w/ Xtreme Couture?

    wasn’t Wanderlei been drug tested for PRIDE 33? what did he weigh in for that fight?

  • […] Caplan asks if Randy Couture would benefit from Chuck Liddell losing to Wanderlei Silva on 12/29 in Las […]

  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    RIGHT ON. COUTURE LOOKS BETTER IF LIDDELL LOSES. COUTURE LOOKS BETTER ANY TIME THE UFC “STOCK” FALLS. LIDDELL WAS CARRYING THE UFC OVER THE TOP… ENTOURAGE, MAGAZINE COVERS, ETC…

    THIS FIGHT WILL BE SIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK. SAM I SEE THE SAME MATCHUP PROBLEMS THAT YOU SEE (PRETTY OBVIOUS, RIGHT?), BUT I’M GUESSING CHUCK WILL BE MORE PREPARED FOR A KICKBOXER THAN HE WAS AGAINST JARDINE.

    THIS IS WHERE MMA GETS INTERESTING…

    RAMPAGE > LIDDELL
    SILVA > RAMPAGE
    TITO > SILVA
    LIDDELL > TITO
    JARDINE > LIDDELL
    ALEXANDER > JARDINE
    JARDINE > GRIFFIN
    GRIFFIN > SHOGUN
    TITO > GRIFFIN

    WE NEED TO SEE ALEXANDER FIGHT SOME MORE TOP 10’S… AND MAYBE A REMATCH BETWEEN SILVA AND TITO? GOTTA LOVE THE UFC 205 DIVISION.

  • ossBASHA says:

    For all the noobs out there… Silva fought in the UFC before. He is RETURNING to the UFC, not making his debut.

  • Shawn says:

    I really don’t see how Randy gains anything. Randy is in a contractual battle with the UFC. Despite everyone deeming it a “war of words”, it has not really been about Randy bashing every aspect of the organization or Dana attempting to tarnish Couture’s legacy. Simply, Couture has publicly vented what his frustrations are with the company in hopes that it would give him more leverage and Dana & co. have countered his arguments. We need to remember that in three fights, Randy got knocked out by Chuck twice. Chuck won the war.

    For Randy to gain anything from this it would be for Chuck to win because losing to the most dominant striker isn’t half as bad as losing to a guy who just lost three times in a row. You always want anyone you lost to to go on a tear. It makes your loss more excusable. Randy coached Stephan Bonnar on TUF1 and got along great with the guy. After the show, Bonnar went back with his old coaches as do most guys who come off the show. A little while down the road Forrest started training with Randy. Does that mean Randy was somehow trying to plot against Bonnar or something?

    Chuck has had his same trainer, partners, and regimen for years and he sticks with it. He doesn’t go anywhere else to train. On the other hand the transition from Pride to the UFC is a difficult one at that and Wandy training at Xtreme Couture is mutually beneficial. The fighters there get the experience of one of the most dominant 205ers in history, as well as one of the best MMA strikers, and Silva gets to take notes from guys who have been in the cage for a while. Getting tips from a guy whose been in the cage with Liddell on three occasions can’t hurt either but most reports indicate that Randy and Silva haven’t really sparred together much with Couture’s busy schedule.

    So do I think Couture gains from a Liddell loss? No, the opposite is in fact the case.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    I’d the happiest guy on the face of the earth if Silva somehow beats Liddell, but I just don’t see it happening. Unless Silva has reinvented his style recently, his wild striking combined with his short arms is a perfect style for Liddell to beat. I think all he has is a puncher’s chance. (And, no, I’m not a Liddell fan in disguise. )

    If Silva loses, the one good thing that might come out of it is that it may convince him that he’s just not tall or large enough for 205 in the UFC. As is, he’s probably smaller than Rich Franklin right now, but he’s still be a monster at 185.

    Regarding steroids, whether he took them or not, Wandy was *never* a big LHW contrary to popular opinion. He generally cut from 210 or so, sometimes even less. He bulked up for his two OWGP fights and he weighed in at 216 for Fujita and 223 for Cro Cop. And this is *after* bulking up on purpose. Jacked-up HW Wanderlei was still smaller than what the large UFC LHWs cut from. (Keep in mind that Forrest cuts from 235-240.)

  • ossBASHA says:

    Forrest cuts 30lbs for his fights? I don’t find this very realistic… can someone confirm this?

  • I can’t confirm Forrest cutting that kind of weight and it does sound like a lot, but I suppose it’s possible. Sean Sherk says he walks around at damn near 180lbs and has to cut to 155 for fights at lightweight. So who knows, personally I think it strange for Griffin to cut that much weight as opposed to just keeping closer to 205 during training. I guess it’s possible that works for him or Grape Knee High could just be a little off.

  • fiveouncesofpainReader says:

    In the ‘All access, Randy Couture’ show before the Couture-Gonzaga fight, Couture mentioned that Griffin was 240. It was in reference to grappling big men.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    I could be a little off, sure… :)

    What I’m basing Forrest’s weight cutting on is two things:

    1) Couture said Forrest was training at 240 lbs during one of those UFC Countdown shows.

    2) The day before UFC 76, Mr. Sunshine — dunno who this guy actually is, but he has a blog at http://mrsunshinevegas.wordpress.com/ — interviewed Griffin and asked him point blank what weight he cuts from. Griffin didn’t answer directly but if I’m remembering correctly he implied he cut from 235.

    Who knows though? Back when Baroni fought in the UFC, he used to claim he cut from 215 to get to 185. And Josh Burkman has claimed on his myspace that he starts his cut at 210 to get to 170 (although I think he’s was talking about where he starts his weight trimming from a few weeks out; I don’t think he’s cutting 40 lbs of water the day before the fight).

  • The Gaijin says:

    I can back-up Grape Knee High for the claims Griffin made.

    Couture talked about it in his interview (which Grape refers to) and I believe Rogan actually talked about it – either on the hype show or the PPV itself – talking about how huge Griffin is for a 205er and how much weight he cuts. Also Chuck Liddell and Tito both cut from around 230 to 205, so this isn’t a completely unfathomable amount of cutting.

    Whether its a bit of hyperbole to say he cuts 40lbs or not, I’m not entirely sure, however Grape is not making this up at all.

    I’ve also heard several times and in various places that Paulo Filho cuts from somewhere around 215-220 to 185 (probably in a way similar to Burkman).

  • godzillad says:

    Sam Caplan you are a total PRIDE mark. Silva hits the floor, dead, in in the first round. What type of fighter is custom-freakin’-made for Liddell to destroy? That’s right, people who come right to him. You know damn well Wanderlei’s ego won’t let him do anything but that, and it will be his downfall.

    It’s unbelievable how people let their fanboy thoughts cloud their mind.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Godzillad:

    LOL. Because I picked Wanderlei that makes me a PRIDE mark? You know nothing about me and are in no position to know whether I have a preference.

    To act like my prediction of Wanderlei over Chuck is a stretch is a complete joke. Because you pick Chuck, does that make you a TOTAL UFC MARK?

    If Randy and Fedor were to fight, my money would be on Couture. Does that make me a UFC mark?

    Wanderlei vs. Chuck is a close matchup on paper and I made a prediction. Get over it and get over yourself. Why don’t you try debating the prediction on merit instead of making ignorant statements.

    If anyone sounds like a fanboy, I think it might be you.

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