Couture just signed on to another movie project entitled “Warrior,” and it’s an MMA-themed film about two estranged brothers on a collision course to a fight. (Wonder if it’s based on the Shamrocks?) Couture will play himself in the movie, which will begin shooting in January 2009.
Many hardcore MMA fans weren’t too happy with this year’s MMA movie offering “Never Back Down,” calling it “The Fast & The Furious” meets MMA, but those fans will be interested to know that Gavin O’Connor, the director of this project, has an impressive resume. He directed 2004’s ice hockey film “Miracle,” and was also the executive producer on the very well-received MMA documentary “The Smashing Machine,” which chronicled the struggles of early MMA legend Mark Kerr.
Couture is also signed on to another movie entitled Mandrake, a comic book adaptation which will also feature Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Criss Angel.
In another bit of Couture news, his autobiography “Becoming the Natural” moves to No. 20 on the New York Times bestseller list this week.
Chances of St. Pierre-Penn in ‘08
After defeating Jon Fitch at UFC 87, UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre was immediately challenged by B.J. Penn, and GSP told the lightweight champ he’d be willing to accept the challenge. Shortly after the fight, however, St. Pierre said the timing might not be right for a December fight.
St. Pierre has fought twice in ’08, with wins over Matt Serra in April and Fitch last week, but dating back to last August’s win over Josh Koscheck, a December bout would be his fifth match in 16 months. GSP is one of the hardest workers in MMA and often employs two-month (or longer) training camps, so he might just be burnt out right now.
Right now, the heavyweight title match between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir will highlight the UFC’s year-end show, but the organization traditionally tries to make this the strongest event of the year and wants to add more starpower. It is possible St. Pierre takes a few weeks off and decides he can go through with the fight, and it's also possible the UFC sweetens the pot in massaging out of him the answer they want to hear.
One possibility if St. Pierre decides he can't go is Chuck Liddell vs. Anderson Silva. That, fight, however, also has a few obstacles in its path. Liddell is fighting in September, so assuming he wins, he’d have enough time to recover. But Silva is competing on Oct. 25 against Patrick Cote. He’d have to come out of that match unscathed and take a fight with only two months to prepare against Liddell.
It might seem far-fetched, but Silva has voiced a hope to fight more frequently, and mentioned back in June that he hoped to have three more matches in ’08.
Some have suggested Forrest Griffin's first title defense as a possibility, and the only contender that will be ready by Dec. 27 is Wanderlei Silva, so if Griffin were to defend the belt on that night, it would likely be against the "Axe Murderer." Silva, however, seems to be expecting to fight Rampage Jackson.
Dana White in Playboy (not in that way, sicko!)
For those of you who buy Playboy “for the articles,” UFC President Dana White is the subject of September’s interview.
Playboy contributing editor Kevin Cook quizzes White about the UFC’s future, Donald Trump and Mark Cuban, and what made him almost jump out a window. Fans who hear White talk on a regular basis won’t find many surprises, but then again, White is always a captivating interview.
On to some reader email…
How good do you think Brock Lesnar is? Is he just a wrestler who is able to control his opponent beneath him? How far can he go?
- S. Thatcher, London
Even after Lesnar lost to Frank Mir, I couldn’t have been more impressed with his agility and power. Lesnar is a unique mix of power, quickness and size that will be more difficult to deal with as his experience level improves.
Lesnar is capable of putting any fighter in the world on their back, and from there, only a few will actually threaten him with submissions from the bottom. He can control where the fight takes place, and that is a huge advantage to carry into every match. I think it’s very likely Lesnar will win the UFC heavyweight championship within two years.
By the way, a couple weeks back I mentioned The New York Times only seemingly attracted to fringe MMA topics, so I must give credit to the Gray Lady this week for interviewing Lesnar.
Mike, I saw you mention in a previous story your interest in seeing Lee Murray’s story featured on ESPN. After seeing it, curious as to your reaction?
- Trevon Williams
Overall, it was a good piece taking a look at the heist, but the only thing I personally didn’t know before seeing it was that Murray was once issued a citation for loitering around the bank depot before it was robbed. That was a great connection to the crime that was previously unrevealed. I’ve done some research on the story myself going back a few months and Murray has more myth surrounding him than perhaps any athlete in the world. The amazing thing is, a lot of it is true.
Mike, I read your UFC 87 round-by-round results, and you mentioned right in the first round that Jon Jones has something special. After watching him beat a veteran fighter, what do you think of his future.
- Arthur Gallardo, New York
He’s an intriguing prospect. At just 21 years old, he is very young and still green, but he has an impressive presence and confidence just oozes off of him. His offense is unorthodox; he does things you just don’t see very often. At one point in his fight against Andre Gusmao, he threw a flying switch knee. At another, he faked a takedown attempt and instead threw a spinning back elbow. So an impressive use of misdirection to go with some gifted athleticism is a great combination. He's definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Finally, in case you missed it, this week's episode of MMA Fight Weekly got exclusive access during Gilbert Melendez's recent Strikeforce title fight. It's worth a watch…
Video: MMA from NBC Sports
Highlights: Burkman shocks Fitch
Josh Burkman shocks Jon Fitch with a first round submission. Burkman knew Fitch was out cold before the referee did.
• Click here to email MMA Fight Weekly