Re: Who do you rank higher at heavyweight: Werdum or Couture?
Thanks for all the good responses Rek, Stoo, Vic.
I don't have time to get into a proper discussion now, but I would advise against saying Randy primarily because he was a champion and Werdum has not been. IMO, this has a lot more to do with circumstance, organization, competition, opportunity etc than it has to do with ability.
Consider that Bobby Southworth won and defended the Strikeforce title (as have Shields, Jacare and Rockhold since) while guys like Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Gray Maynard, Chael Sonnen, and Kenny Florian etc have all been unable to win UFC gold (never mind defend it) because the organization is so much tougher.
Does that automatically mean Southworth and Shields are greater fighters than Fitch and Florian?
I really do not believe that the best version of Randy would have done any better in the Pride 2006 Openweight Grand Prix than Werdum did (beating Overeem, losing to Big Nog), and I really do believe that the best version of Werdum could have won UFC gold against Sylvia and defended it against Gonzaga (but wouldn't have lost it to Lesnar).
Circumstances shouldn't obscure a fair assessment of them as fighters.