Spending more than a year away from the sport, UFC heavyweight champion Randy "The Natural" Couture is ready to return on Nov. 15 to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 91. It was a long, strange trip through lawsuits, courtrooms, and other various legal battles, but the champ is ready to get back to his office in the Octagon.
"Fighting in the cage is what I do best. Courtrooms and depositions and crap like that, it's not really up my alley," Couture said during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. "Realistically, I've got a short window of opportunity to continue to compete at this level, so I need to take advantage of that while the window's still open."
During his time away from the UFC, Couture was focused on making a fight happen with top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and the Affliction promotion seemed to be the place leading the charge to make it happen.
While the current UFC champion maintained a business relationship with the organization promoting the "Xtreme Couture" clothing line, the two never had any negotiations for Couture to compete for them in the ring.
Recently, Affliction co-founder Todd Beard, while appearing on the Scott Ferrall Show, made a bold statement about Couture regarding his match-up against Brock Lesnar in the UFC.
"Randy, if you're listening right now, I hope (expletive) Lesnar kills you," Beard stated.
Harsh words from an executive at a company that Couture still deals with and the founder of Xtreme Couture believes it's gone beyond a normal rivalry between promotions.
"I really don't understand where Todd Beard's coming from in his attack to me, my wife, and my attorney, and now the Ferttitas and Lorenzo specifically, and Dana White. I don't understand it," stated Couture. "He feels there's this adversarial relationship created and I just don't get it. It's gone beyond kind of the antics of being a promoter, so we'll see how all that unfolds, and where the relationship stands, and where we end up with that down the road.
"Frankly, it's a bunch of crap and I don't need anymore crap in my life, so focus on the positive, which is this fight which is in two weeks and let the rest of that stuff go."
As far as the Xtreme Couture brand goes, fans will not see the champion don the clothing in the UFC upon his return in November.
"No, as long as they're in the fight business and not just a t-shirt company then they're looked at as a competitor, which puts the Xtreme Couture clothing brand that they manufacture in competition with the UFC as well," he said.
Building for the future with a tremendous gym and clothing line, Couture understands the importance of his brand name, but is also stuck working between the UFC as a fighter and Affliction as a business man.
"Obviously the brand is important to me. I've spent going on 12 years developing the reputation and the name of Xtreme Couture and Affliction helped build that, distribute that, manufacture that, and build it into a reputable clothing line," Couture commented. "The crossover's where things get a little hazy, so I don't know what's going to happen with that."
Now with Beard coming out with very damaging statements towards Couture, could the future with Affliction be on rocky ground?
"It's certainly going to be affected. The relationship's already been affected by Todd Beard's demeanor and some of the things he's said, so that's all up in the air," Couture said in closing.