If life has taught us anything, it is that we grow old and at some point in time our bodies start to slow down. In sports especially, the time clock ticks very fast. Athletes across the spectrum of sports have a limited time frame where they are able to perform at their best and still be able to compete.
Mixed martial arts is no exception and can be even more accelerated due to the nature of the training and competing. Every once in a while, though, you find athletes that seem to have supernatural powers and defy the standards of age and athleticism.
These two individuals have come to define what younger men wish to look like when they are 47-49 years old. Their age on paper is admirable, considering many MMA fighters retire or dwindle in their mid to late 30s. Their physical attributes, as well as their seemingly timeless ability to compete, amaze and astound fans of the sport each time they set foot into the arena.
Herschel Walker, at the age of 49, is competing at high levels in the sport of mixed martial arts. He currently has two wins and zero losses in his professional MMA career. During weigh-ins and when approaching the Strikeforce Hexagon, one cannot help but see that at his age, his physique of his football days has not changed. In fact, he looks even better.
His first fight was in January of 2010, in which he beat opponent Greg Nagy via technical knockout from punches in the third round.
A year later, some believed that being 48 at the time and having possible ring rust (lack of ability and/or comfort or composure due to not competing for a long period of time) would make his second fight a tough battle. But within a couple minutes of the very first round, Walker beat Scott Carson, once again via technical knockout from punches.
Time will tell if Herschel Walker continues his winning streak, but for a natural athlete like himself, it is not as far-fetched as one might think.
But the old-timer crown goes to “Captain America.” Only two years the younger, Randy “The Natural” Couture, at age 47, is making fans around the world scratch their heads as to when he will run out of gas. He not only fights on arguably the biggest stage in MMA but also has been competing since 1997. He impressively debuted at UFC 13, and now will be fighting on the upcoming UFC 129 main card. Couture is going into this fight riding on a three-fight winning streak.
Randy Couture has, during the course of his career, changed weight classes between light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. He has been dominant at both and physically still proves he can make the different weights at his age.
In mid 2009, Couture had been fighting at heavyweight but then returned to light heavyweight for two fights: one at the end of 2009, the other beginning 2010. Then, for a novelty fight against former boxing legend James “Lights Out” Toney, Couture returned to heavyweight. Now he faces his next opponent, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, back at light heavyweight on April 30th.
Randy feels very confident about this fight, having asked for it himself, and knows his game plan. In the UFC 129 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday, he stated that he had been training at his Xtreme Couture gym in Canada and that it had been a "home away from home." Having his camp so close by has helped him peak correctly and be prepared for his upcoming match.
There has been much speculation that after his fight with Machida, Randy may choose to retire, focusing on his acting career, his clothing line, gym and family. Nothing is official, and we will have to wait and see, but Couture has made it clear that he is almost done competing. Couture stated in a recent interview that he was really looking forward to the Lyoto Machida fight, saying, "There's a big chance this is my last fight."
Couture said it would take a lot from Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to convince him otherwise, and they were already probably thinking of something, but we can only speculate on what the dynamic duo have in store. But as history has shown us, who really knows? Many people in the past have commented that he was too old and was an underdog going into many of his fights, but he has proven one thing over and over again: You can NEVER count out Randy “The Natural” Couture.
For now, we can only speculate how a game of shuffleboard would go with Randy in a senior citizens home.