When Mark Twain wrote, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” he probably didn’t have a pitbull the size of Brock Lesnar staring at him from across the way.
But that’s exactly who Randy “the Natural” Couture went up against on Saturday in the biggest challenge of his professional fighting career: a 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pound former national collegiate champion/ex-professional wrestler. No matter how hard the Natural’s fans wanted to believe he could pull off the win, there was nothing he could do to stop Lesnar from becoming the new UFC heavyweight champion.
I don’t want to take anything away from the former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion. Couture is easily one of the most talented fighters to ever grace the octagon with his presence, but natural disasters have caused less damage than Lesnar is capable of inflicting on his opponents.
From the get-go, Couture had the odds stacked against him. Not only is Lesnar 14 years younger, as well as 55 pounds heavier when he was fully hydrated for the fight, but the freak of nature has the speed of a guy half his size. Not to mention Couture hadn’t had a match in more than 14 months.
Still, Couture put up one hell of a fight. Lesnar couldn’t gain the leverage he needed on the mats to put Couture away, and everyone rallied right behind their favorite 45-year-old underdog when the Natural busted open his goliath opponent. I’d be lying if I said that the cut above Lesnar’s eye didn’t make me say, “Holy shit, this guy might actually do it.”
But that was as close as Couture would come. He never backed down. He sure as hell never looked scared, smiling on his way to the cage and continuing to do so throughout the fight. Considering everyone was nervous about seeing a knockout early in the first round, I wasn’t too disappointed when this fight went well into the second round. Couture’s strategy was working. The mammoth Lesnar was getting tired.
You can’t help but wonder how much longer Lesnar could have kept going. You could see from the look on his face that – even with all the advantages Lesnar had – Couture was in better shape, which says a lot about the self-proclaimed “old man.”
However, one stiff punch to the temple was all it took to crush everyone’s hope of an upset as Couture was obviously stunned as he fell to the mat. The defending champion did the only thing he could do: He covered up and waited to hear the bell signaling the end of the round or for the ref to call the match. Unfortunately for him, the latter happened first.
Regardless of how disappointed I was to see Couture lose his belt, it was motivating to see how hard he fought and to hear him say he still believes he’s getting better as a fighter. That means I can look forward to seeing my favorite former UFC champion back in the octagon sometime soon.
Lesnar proved a lot by winning this fight, but he still has a lot more to prove. This is a guy who has a career record of only 3-1 and had a huge loss to another former champion, Frank Mir, in his debut match. But one thing is for sure: Beating one of the best in UFC’s history is definitely a great way to show people you are for real.