AUGUST 24 2007 13:19h
Randy Couture and Gabriel Gonzaga will fight for the title of UFC champion in Las Vegas on Sunday.
It was an official press conference ahead of the fight of the year. Yesterday Randy Couture, a 44-year-old with a UFC heavyweight champion belt and Gabriel Napao Gonzaga, a Brazilian who turned the limelight off Mirko Filipovic towards himself in Manchester stood in front of reporters.
Betting offices in Las Vegas favour the Brazilian, not by much, but still give him the advantage. But Couture is a man of the people and a man for the people. A good guy of the UFC, Americans would say.
The biggest champion ever to have fought in the UFC.
That is how the organisation’s head, Dana White, introduced Couture. And added:
Also the biggest person to ever have entered the octagon.
Randy Couture truly deserves all those attributes, commendations. We were convinced of that in Manchester, he did not refuse any reporter. He stopped and talked to everyone. He was also very good at the press conference in Las Vegas.
They have doubted in me since I was 37 and I have no problem with that, Couture said.
He told the story of his beginnings in the UFC, his rebirth.
I was watching an event on TV, there were some 1,000 spectators and the fight was better than in the octagon. I immediately sent a text message to President White and said that I want to return because the heavyweight category is very poor. I wanted to help.
White ‘gave’ him Tim Silva, then champion. Couture did not complain and won the match in which he was the underdog, nobody gave him a chance.
And now at 44 I like proving people wrong.
Gonzaga was not of big words. Maybe it was because of his lack of knowledge of the English language, although he makes an effort, perhaps out of respect. And Couture deserves it.
Without a doubt he is the best challenger for the title. He also has a black belt in jiu jitsu and nobody can contest that, Dana White said about the Brazilian.
It came to light that before his first match against Kevin Jordan, he had lost his child. He never mentioned that, never looked for an alibi. This paid back today.
Early Sunday morning (at around 4 AM Central European Time) he faces a match of his life, the continuation of the story that originated in Manchester. The fight for the heavyweight title, 44-year-old randy Couture (15-8-0) against 28-year-old Gonzaga (8-1-0).
Many agree that the fight will go on for five rounds, in which case Couture’s chances increase drastically. He has more endurance and is also difficult to knock down, which Gonzaga hopes to do.
The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas will answer all the questions on Sunday morning. Gonzaga or Couture, that is the question…