Before UFC 129, most fans in attendance seemed to be pulling for Randy Couture to go out on top. At the very least, they hoped that he'd make a good showing, perhaps losing a close and competitive decision, but "going the distance" in Rocky Balboa fashion.
Randy Couture didn't get his Rocky moment and instead got styled on by Lyoto Machida in the fashion of "The Karate Kid."
This wasn't the John G. Avildsen moment Couture was looking for.
Still, despite his ending seeming to be rather inglorious, it's far more fitting than it could have been.
Couture was riding a three fight winning streak against Brandon Vera, Mark Coleman, and James Toney, so some lament the fact that he didn't retire on a winning note against one of those guys, but I disagree.
The Brandon Vera fight wasn't the most exciting of performances and although Couture won, it was far from his most shining moment.
Couture looked invincible against Toney and Coleman, but those were both novelty fights against fighters practically designed to give Couture an easy win.
Yes, he could have retired on one of those wins, but it wouldn't have meant anything.
Instead, Couture decided to challenge one of the best, to prove himself one last time in a real tough fight.
The fact that he went down in flames isn't important.
Aside from his reputation as a master gameplanner, the thing that people love about Randy Couture isn't that he won all the time, and his career record of 19-11 shows that much.
No, what people loved about Randy Couture is that although he'd win some and lose some, he was always willing to challenge himself against the best.
He did that one last time at UFC 129 and came up short.
What matters is that he dared to be great once again, which was always the best side of Randy Couture and the way I'll always remember his career.