Randy Couture is a man that can be listed among the best fighters that the UFC has ever had the pleasure of having under contract.
His credentials include, but are not limited to: being a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, being a two time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (totaling 5 Championships, which is a UFC record), participating in the most UFC championship fights, being the first fighter to hold the title in two different weight classes, and of course being the oldest fighter to win a coveted UFC title.
Couture conceivably has the most impressive list of achievements of any fighter to ever grace the UFC, but at age 46, celebrating his 47th birthday this June, when will it be time to say enough is enough?
With a record of 18-10 overall since 1997, the last time that Randy won more than two fights consecutively was way back in 2001, and none of these fights were while fighting in the UFC.
In the past, there had been some controversy surrounding Couture’s distinguished career. In early 2006, after his second loss in less than a year to Chuck Liddell, both times for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, Couture announced his retirement.
Just 13 months later, he would return as a heavyweight, defeating Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Title at UFC 68 in March 2007. In October 2007, after a contract dispute, Couture announced that he was cutting all ties with the UFC.
Yet again, “The Natural” would return, in September 2008, and have his first fight back, against Brock Lesnar at UFC 91, which he lost by TKO 3 minutes into the 2nd round.
Age aside, you have to take these breaks in his career into consideration, when attempting to figure out why these past ive years of fighting haven’t resulted in a great record.
Since his loss to Chuck Liddell at UFC 52 in April 2005, Couture has an unimpressive 5-4 record. Since then, as a heavyweight, he has accomplished an even less impressive 3-4 record.
However, in November 2009, Randy Couture returned to the light heavy weight division, defeating Brandon Vera at UFC 105, and Mark Coleman in February 2010 at UFC 109.
The fight against Vera may have not have been very exciting, but it proved that Couture can still “hang” with the average UFC superstar.
The fight with Coleman, who granted isn’t as much of a staple in MMA as he once was, served to proved that while Coleman is clearly showing signs of his age, Couture looks as quick and as powerful as ever.
Couture had been quoted as saying that he felt that he was in the best shape of his life, prior to the Brandon Vera fight, and though that fight wasn’t very exciting, I think he proved that to be true after the fight with Coleman.
Clearly, with about 20 months left on his contract, Randy Couture doesn’t have much time left in his MMA career. The question is, will he make it until that time, and if so, will he do it in style, or tarnish his impressive career?
I believe that moving back to the Light Heavyweight division was a smart move for Couture, and I’m curious to see who will be next in line for arguably the most popular fighter in UFC history.
There were talks of him taking on Rich Franklin at UFC 115, but UFC has announced that the on again/off again fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will not be happening, and Liddell will now be taking on Rich Franklin, leaving Couture’s next fight unknown.
To put it bluntly, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Couture’s great fights, nor do I think that he will be forced to retire before his contract expires.
Randy Couture may be called “The Natural,” but he’s going to prove nature wrong by defeating a few more top UFC contenders who are half his age, before all is said and done.