Randy Couture (pictured) right after getting poked in his eye by a Chuck Liddell strike, which eventually led to his KO defeat in their second fight.
“(An early) poke in the eye changed my composure,” Couture says, “and I chased him around instead of cutting him off. By going straight at him — I had hit him with a good shot and stood him up, then threw a left hook and overcommitted — I allowed him to step to the right and gave him the angle where I was out of position.” -Randy Couture
Courtesy of the ‘Portland Tribune’:
Couture trains with redemption in mind
Fighter has something to prove as he gets ready for rematch
By Jason Vondersmith
Friday, Dec 2nd, 2005
Of sound mind and healthy body, Randy Couture looks forward to his rubber match with Chuck Liddell. Part of him wants to prove wrong those who suggest he has lost his edge.
“I’m very excited. I can’t wait until it gets here,” says Couture, the Ultimate Fighting Championship star with roots in Oregon.
Couture suffered his first knockout April 16th, when Liddell caught him with an awesome right hand and took his UFC light heavyweight belt.
“UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3″ will be Feb. 4 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Couture will make a flat $225,000 for the fight.
“Training has been going fantastic,” says Couture, who moved to Vegas earlier this year and has been sparring, lifting, running and doing plyometrics. “I’m confident I’ll be ready to go.”
Couture, 42, admits that he was dealing with “a lot of stress,” before his April defeat while going through a divorce. He boasted at the time of not having to cut much weight – he was carrying about 203 pounds – but it was the stress that kept his weight low.
“I just didn’t feel as strong and explosive,” he says.
Today, he’s at about 216 and will take his time cutting weight for the fight. He has thought long and hard about how he “allowed” Liddell, a stand-up kickboxer, to get his knockout punch. Couture, who relies on wrestling strategy, says he doesn’t want to put himself in the same situation against the younger Liddell, who will be 36 on Dec. 17.
“(An early) poke in the eye changed my composure,” Couture says, “and I chased him around instead of cutting him off. By going straight at him â€” I had hit him with a good shot and stood him up, then threw a left hook and overcommitted â€” I allowed him to step to the right and gave him the angle where I was out of position.”
Couture, who helped found Team Quest Fight Club of Gresham, will be in Oregon this weekend for the 15th Sportfight event on Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College. But it won’t distract from his training.
“I’ve always tended to respond better being the underdog and challenger,” says Couture, who whipped Mike Van Arsdale in August.
What if he beats Liddell – would he retire on top?
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” he says. “I’m taking it one fight at a time, and I’ll make an honest evaluation after the fight.”