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This week’s media storyline: Randy Couture is really old and Nogueira looks old, too

By Zach Arnold | August 24, 2009

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Age may only be a number, but I’m not sure if that’s the kind of storyline that will generate sympathy heat for either man, although I suspect that Couture will undoubtedly get the bigger reaction. A friend of mine did make an interesting observation, which is that Nogueira could have some fans going into this fight because he has more to lose/gain than Couture does. Randy has made his money and will continue to do so after retirement. Nogueira? Not so much.

Here’s a photo gallery of a recent Couture work-out. The Las Vegas Sun tries to tie in Couture’s roots in Oregon/Washington with the upcoming fight, although UFC has reportedly being giving away free tickets with paid ticket blocks for the Rose Garden event.

I will say this for Couture, though — this may be the first fight in forever that he’s been involved in where the questions of age and punishment are focused on his opponent.

Nogueira is the underdog going into the fight. At BetUS, Couture is a -180 favorite and Nogueira is a +150 underdog. If Couture loses to Nogueira, will this be the end?

Bonus question: Do you think the average, casual UFC fan cares at all about Nathan Marquardt vs. Demian Maia? (Odds for the fight at BetUs: Marquardt -160, Maia +130)

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 39 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

39 Responses to “This week’s media storyline: Randy Couture is really old and Nogueira looks old, too”

  1. Alan Conceicao says:

    At some point, people get old. Fighters typically do overnight. Oddly, its become verboten to dare mention the fact that Randy Couture is a 46 year old man who’s last win came 2 years ago tomorrow. Instead, everyone just focuses in on Noguiera having taking huge beatings in every fight he’s ever been in.

    I’m gonna repeat the same thing I’ve said for months: Noguiera will pull guard in the fight after both end up looking glacial speedwise standing and then taps Randy shortly after. Don’t know when exactly, but I’d guess second round. Aftermath is entirely predictable; people notice that Randy has trouble cutting weight and that he should move down to 205. Retirement isn’t an option for him – one of the Xtreme Couture locations just closed and he’s in the midst of a divorce. Noguiera’s win is used to validate the talent of Frank Mir and the claims that he’s a top 5 heavyweight. Interestingly, he still isn’t. He’s just been gifted with precious few fights to lose.

  2. Ultimo Santa says:

    “If Couture loses to Nogueira, will this be the end?”

    If it’s a quick or decisive loss, Couture will retire again. He’s a proud guy, and he won’t keep coming back to get his ass handed to him.

    “Do you think the average, casual UFC fan cares at all about Nathan Marquardt vs. Demian Maia?”

    No. Not at all.

    At my office I talk to four different casual fans…I guarantee none of them have heard of either man, and could give a flaming crap who wins.

    Casual fans like main events, and guys who were on TUF. That’s it.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Marquardt vs. Maia is a high level fight that probably nobody cares about.

    I’m hoping Noguiera wins on Saturday. Couture doesn’t have much of a future left, and I hate to see guys like that knock off potential title challengers. Obviously if Noguiera loses, he isn’t worthy of a title shot anyways.

    As for Nogueira, I think he is shot, but probably not as ba as he looked in the Mir fight. In general, fighters only have so many big fights in their body. Which us why I laugh when people think a guy like Nick Diaz will be competing into his late ’30’s at a high level. He is likely to be completely burnt out by then. In more ways then one.

    Noguiera by submission….

  4. Dave says:

    You know, the thing Rome wrote last week about how it sucks that fans are going to be calling for the loser to retire was pretty spot on.

    I met Randy two years ago, and while he might’ve aged a bit since then, he looked like a guy in his mid-30’s. Basically he is proof if you live a somewhat healthy lifestyle it is possible to stay “young.” A guy like Wanderlei already looks incredibly old for his age, as does Chuck Liddell and you have to wonder if it can equate to partying.

    As for the Marquardt fight, well… I also work with a lot of casual fans but they really try their best. You know, they read Sherdog once in a while and will try to catch every few shows.

    I’m actually looking forward to Marquardt/Maia. With the prospect of Silva giving up the belt the Middleweight Division actually becomes more interesting, I think. Sure, they can’t beat Anderson Silva, but if he is out of the equation..

  5. Fluyid says:

    “Basically he is proof if you live a somewhat healthy lifestyle it is possible to stay “young.””

    I’m pretty certain that Joe Rogan once made a comment on ESPN News about Couture’s anti-aging medical regimen.

  6. Bob says:

    If Couture loses to Nogueira, will this be the end?

    Depends on how it happens. I’m leaning towards Couture being the victor although I would like Nog to win, Nog has not looked good in his past couple fights.

    Bonus question: Do you think the average, casual UFC fan cares at all about Nathan Marquardt vs. Demian Maia?

    No, I did a quick twitter search and it seems more people are tweeting about Bridget Marquardt and her trapeze. Plus, google trends is registering very few hits for Nate as compared to Nog.

    I think that if Maia were to get Silva in mount (like Lutter did) he would finish.

  7. Alan Conceicao says:

    I don’t think it sucks that fans want one of these guys to retire if they lose. Why shouldn’t they? If Noguiera looks like he did against Mir, he needs to get out, win, lose or draw. If Couture is as slow as he was against Lesnar, he too needs to get out even if he wins 30-27.

    People ignore the possibility of long term damage from this sport then note that Noguiera is apparently getting KOed while wearing headgear for the first time in his career during sparring. Like, what more do you need? Is it going to take a stack of bodybags before people realize fighters can get hurt in MMA too?

  8. Dave says:

    The whole “Nog is getting murdered in training” thing is pretty troubling. If he looks like shit against Randy and gets knocked out I think there is a good chance he might have to take some sort of step.. I’m just not sure about Randy.

  9. Detective Roadblock says:

    I bet casual fans don’t care about Marquardt/Maia now. But that has the potential to be a great fight. If it is and lots of people tune in for the main event then UFC will have creates a new star. They’ll also have someone to either challenge Silva, or to face Hendo for the vacant 185 belt if Silva moves up.

  10. ttt says:

    not to be an internet jerk, but where can i read more about this KO’d through the headgear?

  11. Dave says:

    I’m pretty sure there is an article on BE about Nog’s training (or the Mike Rome one, I can’t remember which one) that mentions him being knocked out training.

  12. Alan Conceicao says:

    The rumor going around is that he was KOed a few times in sparring for this fight.

  13. Isaiah says:

    Does anyone know of a more credible source for the claims than BE?

  14. Alan Conceicao says:

    Nope, LOL. But I’m sure they’ll appreciate your visit regardless of the accuracy. My point is less that he shouldn’t be fighting because he’s getting KOed. More like saying that fans who think that Noguiera should consider stepping away from the ring may have a point if that is true and shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed about not having the fighters best interests in mind.

    Come to think of it, I just went to the Oregon State Athletic Commission. Doesn’t expressly say that a CT scan is necessary for licensing in that state, just blood testing for disease and a medical exam.

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    Couture looked finished after his second KO loss to Liddell. However, a perfect match-up in Sylvia and a completely overhyped Gonzaga (I was guilty of this) extended his career. He has still looked very slow and old in those fights.

    “Basically he is proof if you live a somewhat healthy lifestyle it is possible to stay “young.””

    This is a big myth, and has about 5% to do with Couture himself. The big thing is GENETICS!! Yes, Couture still needs to eat healthy and inject HGH into his system, but genetics are a huge part of it. I had a severe shoulder injury before the age of 25. It was probably brought on sooner in life due to wrestling, but it would of happened no matter what. My shoulder, while much better then what it was, will never be the same again. And I’ve never abused my body. I just have a genetic disposition to such a surgery as my mom had basically the same problems. For Couture to be wrestling or in MMA since he was in high school, and not have one major surgery is just freakish genetics….


    Starting at UFC 100, there were 7 key fights for the UFC. They are:

    1. Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
    2. Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves
    3. Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
    4. Nathan Marquardt vs. Damian Maia
    5. Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
    6. Mirko Filipovic vs. Junior Dos Santos
    7. Jon Fitch vs. Ricardo Almeida

    The UFC needs the majority of the guys listed second to win their fights. Why? It would make the divisions less stagnent. If all 7 of the guys listed first win, it gives the fans very little new match-ups to work with.

    To me, this is the true untold story in the UFC. We are very close to having many divisions without any new, interesting challengers. That is not good. Doesn’t mean their isn’t a slew of talent in the UFC…. But the guys who are worthy of the title shots have seemed to already gotten them, and the up & coming guys either haven’t been able to knock them out of their high rankings, or are about to get a chance.

  16. Ultimo Santa says:

    Holy crap…if that’s true then I’m calling a R1 stoppage win for Randy.

  17. Alan Conceicao says:

    Its worth noting that “Noguiera has brain damage” is a story dating back at least 4 years now, back to when he was fighting Barnett and supposedly could barely see in one eye.

  18. Isaiah says:

    Oh, I don’t doubt that Nog was looking like he was ready for the glue factory in his last fight, but I was hoping his horrible performance was at least partly due to the infection/injury.

    If the rumors are true, I’d be against the Couture fight even happening, though Randy is also probably shot.

  19. Isaiah says:

    BTW, I don’t visit BE, but there’s usually another site or three repeating their more interesting rumors.

  20. Detective Roadblock says:

    I wouldn’t put much credence into that report. It is likely one of two things.

    1. From Nogs camp trying to get Randy to stand with him.

    2. From someone who thinks Nog will win and is looking to affect the betting line.

  21. smoogy says:

    Robnashville’s take on the Nogueira rumour:

    “I would caution you against believing these training reports. I’ve heard some very ugly reports about Nog’s training camp in L.A. that include him getting knocked cold with boxing gloves a number of times. — Michael Rome”

    “gee, i wonder why mike would say something like that, i guess his being friendly with couture’s lawyer wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would it? — Rob”

  22. Wolverine says:

    How would spreading such rumours help Couture against Nogueira?

  23. Ivan Trembow says:

    Just focusing on his recent fights, Nogueira’s reflexes were drastically diminished in the Tim Sylvia fight (18 months ago), and both his chin and his reflexes appeared to be gone in the Frank Mir fight (8 months ago). If the same is the case in the Couture fight, then Nogueira should retire or he’s going to end up with permanent brain damage (assuming that he doesn’t already have permanent brain damage).

  24. Ivan Trembow says:

    As for the Maia-Marquardt fight, the casual fan certainly SHOULD care about that fight, and they probably will care about it soon if the Countdown special is as good as usual.

    Then again, that’s only if the Maia-Marquardt fight is on the Countdown special. In the ads I’ve seen, the Jardine-Silva fight has inexplicably been given higher placement than the Maia-Marquardt fight. I’m thinking that the Countdown special will probably hype all three of those fights.

  25. Dave says:

    Seriously, how would those rumors help Couture? Does Randy want to bet the house on Nog after the odds are skewed and then throw the fight or something?

  26. jj says:

    Jardine-Silva is getting the co-main event billing and will be on the countdown show. I would be shocked if they put the maia/marquardt fight on the countdown. more shocked then when I saw the sadollah/hecdricks fight on the last countdown.

  27. jr says:

    With all of Randy’s divorces he will be fighting until he’s 60. Is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira really 33 or is there a Smiley Gonzalez thing going on there

  28. Detective Roadblock says:

    Hopefully those two pu on a good fight. If so and if Maia wins it builds a contender at 185. Either guy vs Hendo would be great. I’d lie to see Silva move up and the winner face Hendo for the vacant belt.

  29. Chuck says:

    Why is everyone surprised that someone can get knocked out while wearing headgear? It’s been proven that wearing headgear INCREASES the chances of head injuries than not wearing one. Boxing headgear is weighted down, so when a fighter gets punched then there is more pressure after the rotation of the head. Concussions in boxing come via rotational forces, and headgear increases that risk. The only things that headgear prevents against are cuts and abrasions, which is pretty obvious because the forehead is covered.

    Oh, and Noguiera vs. Couture? Battle of the MALE PATTERN BALDNESS!!!! Only in MMA will the top players have receding hairlines and full on male pattern baldness. It’s great!

  30. rainrider says:

    If Couture loses, he’ll come back to the LHW division. He already hinted his interest for the current situation of the division. Also, Tower200 that he recommends is designed for 205 lb fighters.

    The odds for Couture-Nog is pretty reasonable. They’re even on feet and Couture will have significant advantage on the ground with superior wrestling and GnP.

    Demian vs Nate-Mc gets every single hardcore fan in the world hyped up, but not much the ordinary fans. I know why. That has something to do with not their fighting style, but their characters. Maia is the least libido-driven Jiu-Jitsu champion I’ve seen since Nino Shembri. I’m sure he’s intelligent and he has solid saving accounts, but I doubt if female audience receives any sex appeal from him. And Nate McQuardt, it looks to us that he has too many sisters in his family and did not grow up having conversations with men. He is mellow and shy and never lets his personality show. In short, they’re both weird and dismal while Anderson at least entertains us with MJ impersonation.

  31. Chuck says:


    What the hell? Who judges people based on…..well…..your criteria? I am absolutely befuddled. And just because someone grew up with mostly women that doesn’t mean they are shy or whatever. I grew up with mostly women (two sisters and my mom) and I could be loud enough. I guess I am “weird and dismal” in a different way, but whatever.

    But let me say this….why cares what the “casual” fans think? Do we like Marquardt and Maia? Then that should be good enough for us. I love indy wrestling companies like Ring Of Honor and Chikara Pro. Casual fans will usually not like feds like those (except for maybe the wackiness of Chikara) but will I try to sway them? Hell no! Let them to their ignorant ways. Let US grow and expand, if you know what I mean.

  32. 45 Huddle says:

    Karo Parisyan vs. Dustin Hazelett at UFC 106…. Same event as Lesnar/Carwin & Ortiz/Coleman. Nice to see such a solid undercard fight here….

    I think Hazelett is too big and Parisyan has looked bad lately…. Hazelett by decision.

  33. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I think the implicit statement here is that two years ago, three of these guys were headliner material. You had Marquardt riding a six fight win streak right into a title fight with Anderson Silva who had won six of his last seven (plus a DQ), and Couture vs Nog was a fight you would buy without a second thought. You’ve got to go back further than that for some of these other guys to be particularly interesting, maybe 2006 for Leben or Vera. Jardine was fighting near the top of cards not even a year ago.

    Then you’ve got Silva, Maia, Soszynski. On the undercard you have FOUR heavyweights who are basically new to UFC, and another guy who was fighting for the title two years ago.

    And yet, there’s basically zero hype right now, coming off of two events that putatively sold a million each.

    This is the weirdest stacked card I’ve seen in a while. All these names, none of the hype.

  34. liger05 says:

    Is Noguiera wiining better for the UFC bearing in mind Randy already lost to Brock?

    Noguiera is a shot fighter. He may win this but the guy is finished. Unfortunately fighters/boxers/wrestlers are the last people who know when to call it a day

  35. Alan Conceicao says:

    WEC is cancelled due to megadraw Ben Henderson’s “injury”. Interesting to note: I noticed yesterday on Ticketmaster that lots and lots of good seats were still available. I wish they’d just put the show way off and find themselves a better headliner.

  36. Steve4192 says:

    Casual fans might not care about Maia-Marquardt at the moment, but once they see Nate bust out that Tekken combo on Wilson Gouveia on the Coutdown show, their interested will definitely ramp up.

  37. rainrider says:


    Thanks for your comment. I respect your opinion and I respect your matrilineal family structure and all that. I think you just gave me the opportunity to restate my point.

    Nick Diaz once told the media that he thinks UFC is a strip club. I can’t agree more when I consider how the vast majority of UFC viewers look at the fights. Your fighting skill has very little to do with your popularity. Girls always look at your ass, abs, and they want to see blood and brutality. They don’t care about how techniques work. Guys find “bad-ass” attitude in the cage more important than skill. They like tough aggressors with punching power more than skilled david bowie.

    No matter how good Nate/Demian are as a MMA fighter, their marketability hasn’t really come along because of their lack of appeal to the ordinary fans. I think “sex appeal” and “agressiveness” are the key. Neither guy has such qualities. They’re mellow and shy.

  38. Fluyid says:

    “No matter how good Nate/Demian are as a MMA fighter, their marketability hasn’t really come along because of their lack of appeal to the ordinary fans.”

    The UFC successfully sold Jeff Monson in a main event, for crying out loud. Surely they could sell Maia as a legit title threat and worthy of interest.


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