Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008 | 1:54 p.m.
Having settled a legal squabble regarding his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, heavyweight champion Randy Couture will return to the octagon for a title fight against Brock Lesnar on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"Mark my words, this will be the biggest fight in UFC history," UFC president Dana White said on a media conference call Tuesday.
"I like Randy I always have. This whole thing never made sense to me," continued White, who said both sides made compromises to settle the legal and contract issues. "All I give a (expletive) about is he's back and fighting.
White predicted 1 million pay-per-view buys for the fight between the 45-year-old Couture, a five-time UFC champion, and Lesnar, a former NCAA Division I wrestling champ who is 2-1 in three professional mixed martial arts fights.
"Coming from a wrestling background I know exactly what he's capable of," Couture said. "There's no way I will be overlooking Brock Lesnar."
The winner of Couture-Lesnar will fight the winner of December's Antonio Nogueira-Frank Mir interim heavyweight title bout.
"It will be champion vs. champion," White said. "We'll find out who the real one is."
Couture said last October he would be resigning from the UFC, an announcement that set off an extended legal dispute that both sides characterized as frustrating.
"It's all behind me," White said. "Randy Couture is back in the UFC. That's all I care about. I'm like a giddy little girl right now. I'm happy."
Couture said that part of his and UFC's reconciliations paved the way for a possible fight with Russian superstar Fedor Emelianenko. One of the main reasons Couture said he wanted out of UFC was to pursue a fight with Emelianenko and see who the best heavyweight in the world is.
“I’d rather fight Fedor in Nov., but I feel like we are on the right road," said Couture (16-8 MMA, 13-5 UFC), who hasn’t fought since defeating fellow UFC heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga in August 2007. "Hopefully we will get there."
White said that UFC will do everything in its power without interfering with Emelianenko's current contract to sign the Russian fighter to his promotion.
"If the Fedor fight can be made ... then absolutely we would love to make the Fedor fight," White said.
As media members' questions constantly turned to the possible super fight between Couture and Emelianenko, Lesnar warned that the UFC legend had to get past him first.
I’m sick and tired of talking about Fedor," Lesnar said. "He’s not with the company and might not every be with the company.
"Randy Couture is fighting Brock Lesnar on Nov. 15 and his (Couturne's) No. 1 concern should be Brock Lesnar."