You may remember me writing that Randy Couture isn't a top 5 light heavyweight earlier this week, even though Dana White believes or is promoting that as the case. Steve Cofield spoke with Couture's grappling coach Neil Melanson, he disputes my statement and absolutely believes that Couture is a top five fighter(6:15 mark):
I wasn't killing Randy, I was just pointing out the facts that he hasn't beaten anyone at light heavyweight to be considered top five. Cofield posed the question that most of the top guys are stand up fighters, as I pointed out in the linked piece from earlier in the week. Melanson response was this:
I think Randy's proven that pretty well that he can get stand up guys on the ground at will except for Brandon(Vera), but Brandon is a Greco-Roman wrestler. Randy is a top five fighter, he's been in there with some tough guys.....I think Randy can compete with any of them, and now that he's looking for submissions, he can stop that fight. If you want to talk about title contention, Randy is the ultimate fight round fighter. He is, period. For most fighters they're not five-round fighters. They've got 25 minutes with Couture."
What stand up guys has Randy gotten to the ground? Belfort and Liddell? Yea, he got Liddell down in the first fight, but we saw what happened in the last two fights...not to mention Couture is 5 years older now. Also, Belfort isn't very difficult to take down as past fights have shown.
Also, almost all of the top light heavyweights have some wrestling in their background as did Chuck Liddell. It's clear that Couture's chin isn't anywhere near what it used to be. He's gotten dropped by Brandon Vera and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and neither guy are known for their punching power. I just don't see Couture being able to withstand power shots from the top guys. I don't know why Melanson thinks that Couture is a submission wizard all of a sudden. Couture has all of three submission wins in almost 30 fights. I'm sorry, but submitting Mark Coleman isn't exactly the most difficult thing to do. In fact, literally half of his losses have been via submission.
So again, you can't just leapfrog guys that have been putting in work in the light heavyweight division by beating Brandon Vera and Mark Coleman. As I said earlier this week, Couture can fight Forrest Griffin and possibly beat him due to it being a good style match up for him with Griffin's suspect take down defense and lack of punching power.
Maybe then Dana White would have a legitimate claim as to calling Couture a top five light heavyweight.