Although Randy Couture met with UFC President Dana White, and their relationship seems to be improving slightly, he has officially declined the offer to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 82.
As a result, it will now be an Interim title fight between Nogueira and (in all likelihood) Tim Sylvia, which will likely see the victor promoted to undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion a few months later.
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett weighed in on the situation, stating that the UFC heavyweight division is weak right now and Nogueira is the only real top fighter. He also stated that Dana White either has an extremely short memory, ADD or just flat-out lies. White first stated that nobody could beat Couture (Barnett himself handily defeated Couture years ago) and then stated that the UFC would sign Fedor Emelianenko and bring in "all of PRIDE's top stars."
The UFC has completely failed to sign dozens of top fighters from PRIDE - including almost all of the lightweights - and, as soon as Fedor signed with M-1 Global and was no longer coming to the UFC, White backtracked and began foolishly trying to slander him by labelling Fedor as "not even in the top five heavyweights" - a ridiculous claim which made White look very poor and ignorant in the media.
Barnett could face Mark Hunt on New Year's Eve, likely for the M-1 Global promotion, but it remains to be seen whether he will receive a fair offer to fight.
Couture will continue to corner many UFC fighters, but it does not seem likely that he will fight in the UFC again. His focus now lies with his family and a handful of movie roles.
The UFC heavyweight division is, as Barnett stated, suffering.