With the resignation of Randy Couture it is difficult to
UFC without one of its biggest stars. Despite his age Couture remains
one of the top fighters on the planet and has done more in the sport of
MMA than most will ever dream of. Very few of the well known current
fighters including current and past champions, can match the level of
success Couture has acheived. Be sure of one thing, despite what
anyone will tell you his loss will be felt in the UFC, if in fact he
does not return. However,
dont be so certain we have seen the last of Couture in the UFC.
his retirement from the UFC after his second loss to Chuck Liddell, I
spoke with Couture about coming back and he said I think that never is
a long time, I am certainly think that there are circumstances and a
situation that would pull me back in, intrigue me and interest me and
get me back out there fighting again. I would certainly say that it is
in the realm of possibility. Couture did come back and defeated Tim
Sylvia for the heavyweight championship upon doing so. It is a totally different situation, but anything can happen.
Do I think that Couture will be back in the UFC? I dont know, no one does but unlike some I believe that is a possibility, remember this is the not the first contract dispute that Couture has had with the UFC. I have compiled a brief list of UFC champions and their current situations. I think you will see that many of them have left and come back only to return and achieve some of their greatest successes. Here is part one of that list.
The first line has the name, and the date of their first UFC fight. The list is in ascending order with the fighter with the longest UFC tenure coming last. Here is #12-7. # 6-1 will be in part 2 of this story coming soon
Quinton Jackson: Feb 3 2007 UFC 67
Current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
The new light heavyweight champion of the world has been with the company for less then a year but has a long history in the Pride organization. Jackson is 29 years old and should be with the UFC for a long time. On a side note after becoming a free agent after his Pride contract expired, instead of re-signing with Pride or going to the UFC he went to the WFA. The WFA had only one event with Jackson before the UFC bought out the company and with it many of their contracts. It is widely believed that Jacksons contract was the main reason the UFC purchased the WFA.
Anderson Silva: June 28 2006 UFN 5
Current UFC Middleweight Champion
The current middleweight champion of the UFC Anderson Silva has been in the UFC for over a year starting from June 28, 2006 making his debut at UFN 5. While he holds the MW belt he is not generally considered a huge star in the UFC yet. His inability to speak English well has not helped his star turn but he has the skill set to be with the company for a long time to come. In fact his first dealings with the UFC were rocky at best. He originally signed to fight in the UFC as a welterweight in 2001. He signed the contract and for one reason or another chose not to fight! We waited until the contract expired and went to fight in Pride instead! After a sub par turn in the Pride organization he mended fences with the UFC and returned in 2006 eventually becoming MW champ.
Georges St. Pierre: Jan 31 2004 UFC 46
Former UFC WW Champion
The UFCs biggest Canadian star has been with the company for approximately 3 and a half years since January 31, 2004. He is the former welterweight champion and has turned into a huge MMA star, his future looks bright with the company at the age of 26 he has a long MMA future ahead of him if he so chooses. After his win over Matt Hughes, St. Pierres management was rumored to be looking into different avenues including speaking with the IFL at one point, because of a contract dispute, but St. Pierre eventually re-signed with the UFC.
Rich Franklin: April 25 2003 UFC 42
Former UFC MW Champion
Franklin fought in the UFC for the first time on April 25th, at UFC 42 beating Evan Tanner but ended up leaving the UFC after only 2 fights. He was gone for approximately two years and returned after getting locking into a 6 fight deal, the first of which was against an aging but still popular Ken Shamrock on the finale of a little show called the Ultimate Fighter 1. He went on to become MW champion but lost his belt to Anderson Silva. He will be re-matching Silva for the title on Oct 20th.
BJ Penn: May 4th 2001 UFC 31
Former UFC WW Champion
One of the most talented fighters in all of MMA, Penn was once the UFC posterboy and in fact his very first MMA fight was in the UFC. He didnt even have to work his way through the smaller MMA circles to get into the UFC. He won the Welterweight Championship belt in a huge upset victory over Matt Hughes in January of 2004. After the fight he left the UFC and fought at middleweight and lightheavyweight in various other organizations. When the UFC decided to strip him of the title and award it to the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes he even went as far as legal action against the UFC for stripping him of the welterweight belt. He returned to the UFC in 2006, in the deal all lawsuits were dropped and he went on to fight GSP in his return fight. He lost his next two fights before becoming a coach of the Ultimate Fighter 5.
Matt Serra: May 4 2001 UFC 31
Current Welterweight Champion of the UFC
Dana White has always publicly praised Serra, and The Terror went on to win The Ultimate Fighter 4 and take the title away from GSP in his next fight. He had his first UFC fight in May of 2001 and has been a very steady fighter for them never leaving for another organization during that span. Serra is currently a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 6 and will fight Matt Hughes for a title defense in December.
Check back soon for Part 2 of this article coming soon