EVERY SPORT HAS THEIR LEGENDS – FOR THE UFC IT IS RANDY COUTURE.
Every sport has their individuals who become legends – athletes whose names remain recognizable years after they finish their competitive careers. Babe Ruth – baseball, Muhammed Ali – boxing, Joe Namath – football to name just a few. The UFC is no different. For me, a UFC fighter that is now indeed a legend is Randy “THE NATURAL” Couture.
RANDY COUTURE – A TRUE AMBASSADOR FOR BJJ / MMA / UFC
Randy Couture began his UFC career at the age of 33 – not exactly an early start. He made his debut in May 1997 in an event that billed as UFC 13. He defeated two heavyweight opponents—Tony Halme and Steven Graham who were considerably bigger. Couture exhibited toughness, determination, intelligence – a true tactical strategist and ultimate warrior all wrapped up in one. There could be no better ambassador for the sport of mixed martial arts. On April 30, 2011 the man they called “The Natural” / “Captain America” left the Octagon in front of more than 55,000 fans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Couture’s career spanned three decades fighting 30 professional bouts, sixteen of them UFC title fights. He leaves competition with sixteen victories inside the Octagon, trailing only fellow UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes who has 18. Couture defeated seven former UFC champions — Vitor Belfort (twice), Maurice Smith, Kevin Randleman, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia and Mark Coleman — and remains one of only two men, B.J. Penn being the other, to win UFC titles in two weight classes.
As the 47-year-old legend starts a new adventure in his UFC / MMA career, I can not help but reflect on comments I heard from the crowd at the sports bar where I was watching the fights. Most were supportive of Couture acknowledging this man’s contribution to the UFC but almost all were asking why he was taking this fight. A few were downright derogatory in blasting him as the “old man” in the ring.
Randy Couture went out in style with his held head high.
To those that wonder why he took the fight – it may be that all of us when we reach a certain age in our competitive careers still want that last fight – that last tournament competition – our hand raised in the air one more time in victory. To that end, I salute Mr. Couture and congratulate him on an exemplary career. The man known as “The Natural”, Randy Couture is a natural warrior and a true UFC legend.