Although it’s being dubbed the biggest UFC bout in history, some experts question whether Brock Lesnar — the main attraction at UFC 91 who will take on seasoned veteran Randy Couture — is worthy of all the hype he’s received since joining the UFC.
Lesnar does lack professional experience in the octagon, much like Kimbo Slice who became the star of the now-defunct EliteXC despite a background of backyard brawling. Lesnar, however, has a wrestling background. He was a star wrestler in college, making a name for himself by winning the NCAA wrestling championship for Minnesota in 2000. But, he went on to compete in the fantasy wrestling world of the WWE.
So why is a man with only three MMA bouts under his belt, being thrust into the spotlight? It’s his bankability, which UFC President Dana White doesn’t deny. He’s so confident in the popularity of Lesnar and his potential, that he’s predicting record-breaking numbers for UFC 91.
“The star power in this fight is so intense, there’s buzz everywhere about Brock doing well in the UFC, and can he now beat Randy?” White said.
“It’s a big fight, [with] the WWE cross-over for this fight, a lot of WWE fans are going to tune in to see if their former wrestling champion can win in a real fight,” White also said. “Vince McMahon might even buy this fight.”
Lesnar is facing an aging UFC legend at 45 years old, in Couture. Despite the size advantage Brock has over him, Couture feels that he can challenge the 6’3″, 265 pound beast that is Lesnar.
“I have the skill-set to deal with his size and athleticism. I don’t want to lay underneath him,” said Couture, adding that he’s excited about the challenge Lesnar brings.
In addition to size, there are concerns that the 15-month layoff Randy “The Natrual” Couture has been on, that may result in a little ring rust. He dismisses those concerns, though, claiming that he’s stayed active throughout his time off.
“I don’t have any concerns about the layoff because I’ve been very active for the last year and a half, fighting guys in my [Las Vegas] gym. An MMA layoff isn’t that big of a deal because our training is so close to real competition.”
“There’s no way I can give less than 100% when I’ve got Brock ready to punch me in the face,” Couture added. “He’s a big, strong athlete. … It doesn’t matter that he spent those years in the WWE. You still always saw a formidable athlete, and that remains impressive.”
Lesnar, on the other hand, respects Couture’s legacy in the UFC, but says, come Saturday, he’s here to dominate.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter,” Lesnar said about Couture. “Definitely experienced and a veteran in the Octagon. For me, it’s just to try to dominate this fight and control, and I think he’s got some of the same ideas, try to nullify me and my weaknesses, which I don’t think I have too many … If I exposed any weaknesses against Herring, we fixed them.”
During Lesnar’s UFC debut, he faced Frank Mir, and although he was dominating the short fight, but lost by submission when he got caught in a kneebar.
His next challenge came from veteran Heath Herring. Lesnar knocked Herring to the ground immediately and kept him there for almost the entire three rounds. It was the performance that propelled him into Saturday’s title fight in Las Vegas at UFC 91.
The Las Vegas host hotel’s MGM Grand Race and Sports Book lists Lesnar as a slight favorite in the bout.
UFC 91 will take place Saturday (November 15) at 7 p.m. PST, at the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and is also available on pay-per-view.
Will Saturday birth a brand new UFC superstar? Will a legend return to put a stamp on his legacy? Will the bout go down as the biggest fight in UFC history? Saturday holds the answer.