Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Randy Couture, who fought Vitor Belfort three times, knows a little something about his skills.
Vitor Belfort rival and Xtreme Couture founder Randy Couture spoke to Real Fighter magazine contributor Sacha Feinman on Wednesday about Belfort's chances against Fedor Emelianenko in a still-unconfirmed bout Aug. 1 at "Affliction: Trilogy."
"Vitor has always been tremendously talented, and he's always had a ton of gifts," Couture told Feinman. "It's just a matter of putting him in the right environment to let them flourish."
Although Belfort, a middleweight contender, would be opposing the world's consensus top heavyweight on only 11 days' notice, Couture believes the time compression amounts to an equal liability for both. "The fact that he's a southpaw and Fedor hasn't prepared for a southpaw, the fact that he is very, very agile and explosive and a great boxer all lend well to him having a great performance," Couture said. "It's really a win-win for Vitor to fight one of the top guys in the sport, being a smaller guy stepping up on such short notice. & He's got just as good a chance as anybody. Certainly he has as good a chance as Barnett had at fighting Fedor."
Couture, who spent much of 2007 and 2008 trying to make a fight with Emelianenko materialize, was asked whether watching Belfort step in has provoked any athletic envy. "No, it's great for him. If I get my opportunity, I get my opportunity. Things happen how they are meant to happen."
Sacha Feinman made majority contribution to this report.