Will Randy Couture's mystique give him a leg up before he enters the cage with Brandon Vera?
1. Is weight loss healthy for Randy Couture?
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During a recent four-fight heavyweight run, Couture was outweighed by as much as 50 pounds on fight night. Although it might seem wise to eliminate that excess and return to the light-heavyweight arena, there's always a price to be paid: In this case, he'll be facing a considerably faster opponent who might be able to put punches together in the same time Tim Sylvia got off one.
2. Will Brandon Vera be intimidated by the Couture name?
Vera has made repeated mention of athletes such as Chuck Liddell and Couture being role models for what can be accomplished in the sport; that kind of hero worship cost Georges St. Pierre in his first fight against Matt Hughes. Although Couture isn't running as rampant as Hughes was at the time, he may still exist in Vera's head as something other than a man. An idol is a hard thing to damage.
Georges St. Pierre looks good in a maid's uniform: He has cleaned out the entire welterweight division, leaving talents such as Swick and Hardy -- capable, but not awesome -- as legitimate title contenders. For fans to back that idea, one of them will have to do more than grind out a finish: He'll have to do it with arterial spray.
Boxing trainer Freddie Roach has a telling explanation of the nature of knockouts "changing" fighters in Sam Sheridan's new book, "The Fighter's Mind." In it, Roach describes the idea that a fighter who hasn't been knocked out will take fight-finishing risks and plow ahead, not fretting over the consequences. If you haven't been KO'd, you don't know you can be KO'd. But a power outage like the one Henderson delivered can bring you back to reality. Bisping now knows he's human. That will affect his behavior.
5. Will peak audiences help the UFC's anti-Fedor sentiment?
The fight business exists to claim bragging rights: If Couture's fight with Vera draws more viewers on basic cable than Fedor Emelianenko's bout with Brett Rogers did on CBS, we'll hear about it -- repeatedly -- all week long.