by Loretta Hunt (Sherdog)
If signed, the bout will mark the first time UFC hall of famers have met in the Octagon. Both former heavyweight champions, Couture was originally slated to face Coleman at UFC 17 in May 1998 in Mobile, Ala., before the four-time Olympic alternate hurt his ribs prepping for that year’s Greco-Roman wrestling Nationals.
Instead, Coleman fought Pete Williams, a then unknown Lion’s Den protégé, and was knocked out with a head kick just past the 12-minute mark. The accomplished wrestlers’ paths did not cross again.
Couture, 46, out-clinched muay Thai striker Brandon Vera to a unanimous decision last Saturday at UFC 105 in Manchester, England. Couture is the only fighter to have held titles in both the UFC’s light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also a two-time Div. I National Championships team member and a two-time NCAA Div. I runner-up for Oklahoma State University.
Coleman, 44, breathed new life into his 13-year career with a unanimous decision victory over 32-year-old “The Ultimate Fighter” finalist Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100 last July in Las Vegas. He was slated to face former 205-pound champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 106 on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas, but withdrew with a slightly torn MCL in early October.
Coleman, who was inducted by the UFC in 2008, was Pride Fighting Championships’ first grand prix tournament champion in 2000 and placed seventh in freestyle wrestling at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Coleman was an NCAA Div. I champion his senior year at Ohio State University.
The legendary pair wrestled one another in a freestyle match at the 1989 Olympic Festival at Oklahoma State. Coleman won the match by one point.