Various online reports in recent days have surfaced claiming that disgruntled UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture has been involved in negotiations with Zuffa about a possible return to the promotion.
Adding additional fuel to those reports is Michael Rome of BloodyElbow.com, who reported Friday that he had confirmed negotiations are indeed taking place between Couture and the UFC. And as first mentioned by FiveOuncesOfPain.com on Thursday, Rome also adds that Couture’s first fight back with the company could take place at UFC 91 on November 15 in Portland, Oregon against Brock Lesnar. It is unclear whether the Couture vs. Lesnar fight would have a title at stake.
According to Rome, the deal currently on the table would not be a settlement that would bring Couture back under the terms of his old deal, but an entirely new deal that would offer an increase in compensation over his old agreement.
Five Ounces of Pain was first informed of the possibility of a Couture return earlier this week but was unable to report the story with complete confidence. However, it is obvious at this point that Couture’s return is more than just a rumor and at some point soon it could become a reality.
In addition to Bloody Elbow, MMAjunkie.com was the first to report earlier this week about the possibility of a Couture return. And after Bloody Elbow published its report last night, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer issued a report of his own as well.
According Meltzer’s report, the terms of Couture’s new deal would be for three fights. After re-debuting vs. Lesnar, future opponents discussed include current UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, and even current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
Expectations about a possible Fedor vs. Couture bout under the UFC banner should be tempered, as Meltzer also stated in his report that many of the past issues that have prevented Fedor from signing with the UFC still exist.
While a deal making a Couture return to the UFC possible is still not yet official, Ariel Helwani of MMARated.com is reporting that the deal could be finalized as early as this Tuesday. Helwani is also reporting that the UFC has received a formal proposal from M-1 to co-promote the much-anticipated Fedor vs. Couture fight as the second fight in Couture’s new proposed UFC contract.