Couture inks new deal with UFC

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Five-time UFC champion Randy Couture on Saturday evening inked a new six-fight contract that will replace a three-fight deal he signed in September 2008 after a contentious 11-month absence from the promotion.

At a Thursday press conference promoting UFC 102, UFC president Dana White hinted at a contract extension, saying he wanted to keep the beloved champion in the fold until retirement, whenever that came.

At the post-fight press conference for the Pacific Northwest event, White confirmed the deal, stating, "(Couture) will be with us for a lot more fights."

Couture said he would end his career in the Octagon, adding the term of the deal was for 28 months.

Couture's decision loss Saturday to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira served as the first obligation of the contract. Couture representative Sam Spira on Saturday evening declined to discuss the terms of the deal, but confirmed its existence.

Matt Walker, Couture's agent, said the deal was "a great showing of respect to an icon of the sport."

One source with knowledge of the negotiations spoke with said the contract could be valued at the same amount the UFC allegedly offered Fedor Emelianenko following Affliction Entertainment's collapse.

Couture said he would let the dust settle from this fight before deciding his next challenge, which could be another bout at heavyweight or a possible return to light heavyweight.

"Whatever he wants to do, I'm in," said White.