No, I have not missed the half dozen reports of Randy Couture's possible return to the UFC. I resisted posting about it because I wanted to wait until I had some credible information to go on. The MMA world is an odd place. There are constantly rumors flying around and most times they begin from a solid source. The problem is they are often hopeful thinking by a manager, fighter, training partner, friend, or promotion. A good example is when a promotion mentions a list of potential opponents to a fighter then the fighter tells others. Next thing you know, there are reports all over the place about potential bouts that have little chance of ever occurring.
Now onto what I know. The first news I heard of a possible return was when he first entered into arbitration meetings with the UFC. It was a lesser option Couture was prepared to use if other plans failed. The UFC has been strong and unwilling to move from their position that Couture will not simply walk away. He will either fight for them or remain on the sidelines. This has led to Couture's camp entertaining other ideas, such as fighting for the UFC again.
The breakthrough came when the UFC softened from their stance that Couture must finish out his current contract. Instead, they are now willing to consider a return to action under a new deal, which could be for as many as three fights. If the UFC brings Couture back, it makes sense for them to hold onto his services for as long as possible. A one fight deal would only build additional attention for his debut with Affliction. A potential three fight deal would most likely end any chance of Couture and Fedor Emelianenko fighting in an Affliction main event. Also, bringing "The Natural" back would completely destroy Affliction's momentum. they would go from possibly having the biggest fight in MMA history to having good heavyweights fight to see who can last the longest with Fedor. Do not be mistaken. The UFC considers Affliction a threat and will do whatever it thinks necessary to slow the young promotion's rise in power.
The potential opponents on the table begin with Brock Lesnar on November 15 at UFC 91. The UFC is having trouble finding an opponent for Lesnar and booking a main event. Couture's return to the Octagon would solve both problems. It would also give the UFC an event, which would draw record shattering PPV buys. In my opinion, it would top a Couture/Fedor main event. There also is not much of a downside to the fight for the UFC. A win by either fighter would give them huge possibilities for the future, particularly Lesnar. Couture would have the most to lose from the fight, but a new contract would almost certainly give him additional money from the PPV buys, which again could break records.
Whether this gets resolved remains to be seen. They have moved away from the contract dispute, where neither related to the other, and have begun talking about a common interest - how they can make huge amounts of money together. It always comes back to that in the end.