PHOENIX - AUGUST 13: Randy Couture watches the Strikeforce Challengers Main Card bout at Dodge Theater on August 13 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Randy Couture goes by a few nicknames: The main two, "The Natural" and "Captain America," are well-placed nicknames. Any fan who has been watching Couture for any period of time knows he could easily go by another nickname as well: "The Magician."
That's because Couture has pulled a rabbit out of his hat so many times we're starting to lose count. During this seven-part series leading to his fight with former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 129, we'll take a look at all those times Couture has pulled the rabbit out of his hat while becoming one of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport and ask if he can do it again as he enters yet another fight as a heavy underdog coming up in less than two weeks at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Today, we wrap up the series with a look at Couture's fight with Machida.
Can Couture do it again?
In this series, we've looked at the magic Randy Couture has made from his UFC debut in 1997 through his three-fight win streak of the past 18 months.
Saturday, Couture enters the cage for what is quite possibly the biggest test of his career, which, considering the competition he's fought, is really saying something.
Lyoto Machida is a radically different fighter than Couture has ever faced. He has made fighters younger and faster than Couture look awful.
I'd like to point out something Dallas G. Winston wrote yesterday, and this is where, if Couture has any shot at winning the fight, he must be absolutely dominant:
Where Couture will be in survival mode and looking to bring the fight elsewhere in the free movement phase, the same applies to Machida in the remaining phases of combat. Of course, the former 205-pound champ and Black House fighter is no slouch anywhere, but the reason Randy Couture is a revered idol is because he's an unstoppable battleship in the clinch.
Within the first ten seconds of his 2008 bout with behemoth Brock Lesnar, Couture pinned the leviathan against the cage in the clinch, and did so throughout the contest almost at will.
Let's think about this for a minute. Couture, weighing 220-pounds, against a former NCAA wrestling champion with frightening agility that allegedly tips the scales at 280-pounds on fight night, which equates to an approximate 60-pound difference in weight. That's ... wait for it ... four entire mixed martial arts weight classes apart. Hell, that's like a featherweight fighting Randy Couture, and giving him a run for his money in the clinch.
The strength, technique, talent, experience, and raw voracity of Randy Couture's clinch game is unparalleled in the sport. "Clinching with Randy Couture" is dead last on every To-Do List that mankind has ever created. Period.
Does Couture have that one final stand in him against Machida? Can he pull that proverbial rabbit out of the hat one more time at UFC 129? He is going to be a big underdog, and for good reason. Machida is an extremely tough matchup for anybody, but you have to feel if anybody can come up with a game plan to beat him, it's Couture.
No matter what happens, Couture has had one of the most celebrated careers in MMA history for good reason. He has fought and beaten many world champions and has been in more world title fights than anyone else.
I'd like to thank everyone for reading this series. It's been a blast to do and I hope everyone enjoyed it!