With time, all things come to pass. Few things are forever.
Of the few things that truly can withstand the test of time, greatness is one of them. It lives on through the legend that tells a story of success and historical impact on any given subject.
The importance of the series of events that lead an individual to become legendary is paramount when looking back at the time in which a legacy was forged.
Legends can be considered legendary even in the present though. Before the prime of a great individual comes to an end, many are insightful enough to recognize greatness as it is happening.
Such is the case with mixed martial artist Randy "The Natural" Couture. A man who has defined the word legend inside the Octagon over a 12 year MMA career.
It seems like yesterday that "Captain America", as he is also known, stepped into the cage and started racking up UFC victories at a feverish pace. It seems like yesterday when he fought for and won his first UFC heavyweight title.
Yet here we are, almost 13 years later, 27 fights later, 15 championship bouts included in that total, and the man is less than two weeks removed from another battle. Perhaps even two or so wins removed from yet another title shot.
At 46 years of age, years young many will tell you, Couture continues to walk through obstacles, he continues to defy the odds, he continues to impact this great sport. A sport that saw its entire bar raised based on this man’s historical accomplishments alone.
Of course he didn't do it alone. He had the help of guys like Chuck Liddell along the way. If not for the greatness that surrounded him, Couture's career may not have been nearly as impressive. It is the individuals whom athletes test themselves against that truly make them who they are, and Randy is no exception.
In the end, Couture has held his own with some of the best the sport has ever seen. For all intents and purposes, Randy may not carry a belt, but his championship experiences, win lose or draw, created the champion he has become today, belt or not.
To call him a champ is no overstatement by any stretch of the imagination.
It was his seemingly perennial championship level of competition that really defined his career. Many fighters will scratch, bite and claw their way into this sport and never even sniff a championship belt. Randy has lived in that elite environment, and lived there quite comfortably.
To break down his record, it tells the fight fan that Couture has 17 wins with 10 losses. Lots of fighters have a record similar to that, and for some reason can't even come close to comparing to Couture. It is in the details, the fine print of those wins and losses, which paint a very different picture than his 63 percent win ratio.
Whether it be his utter dominance, and historical ass paddling of "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz, his absolute dismantling of the giant Tim Sylvia, or his ability to be the only man to this day to make Brock Lesnar bleed, Randy made his impact known.
People knew that what they were seeing was something special. Even still, many of them did not take the time to drink it in, many of them took "The Natural" for granted. Now the twilight of his career upon him, and everyone can see the end in sight.
What has been a marathon of greatness has become a sprint to regain one more moment of legendary accomplishment, a cherry to top a most impressive of sundaes.
He will have his chance to take one more step forward in the trenches of a war laden career and keep his relevant status alive yet awhile longer. The fan will have yet another chance to witness greatness unlike the sport has ever seen, maybe not greatness at its peak of potential, but undeniable greatness all the same.
That chance comes against another seasoned veteran of this sport, Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, at UFC 109 "Relentless" in Las Vegas Feb. 6.
Something in the back of every fight fan's mind tells them this is not the last they will see of Couture. Something tells them, the odds are about to be smashed yet again by a man who has made a living of trashing odds like a schoolyard bully taking lunch money from helpless kids.
While the armchair warrior sits around and contemplates why the UFC continues to facilitate this man’s aspirations to continually prove his worth in this sport, maybe there is a question they should be asking. If not for guys like Randy Couture, would we even have this great sport to enjoy? If not for a guy like Couture, would the greatness in this sport be diluted?
Where would MMA be without a guy like "The Natural"?
When the answers to those questions surface, perhaps the armchair warrior should pay a little more appreciation to a guy who really paved the way for this entire sport to expand and excel while following his example.
Ask any fighter, promoter, match maker, anyone who knows MMA really, and they all will tell you Couture exemplifies this sport, and if he isn't on their favorites list, they haven't been around the sport long enough to know any better. Or they are just completely outside of their minds.