UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture has declined a title bout against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and will now likely be stripped of his title. Despite declining the match Couture sounded optimistic about continuing a relationship with the UFC in an interview with MMA Weekly:

“We’ve cleared the air, and hopefully we’ll move forward with some sort of relationship. I’ve got a lot of fighters and a lot of things that hinge around mixed martial arts and the UFC as well. I want to continue to work with them and I think that they want to continue to work with me, so we’ll figure out how that happens.”

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The 5-time UFC champ also addressed his future and rumors of a bout against top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko:

“Obviously I have a contractual obligation with the UFC. There’s been some haggling and things going on with all that, and Fedor signing with M-1 made the possibility of that fight very difficult because of that and because of those contracts.

I think more than anything at this stage of things I want to slow down a little bit. I’ve been burning it for three or four years now … I want to take some time and go on a vacation, spend some time with my wife. We’ve been married a year now and we’ve been together very, very little in that year; it’s been crazy. It’s been difficult on us. I’ve got a nice house and I don’t even get to spend any time in it hardly, so take a little time now and just smell the roses so to speak.”