With just a few days left until the UFC 129 MMA event, it seems like the perfect time to look back at the incredible career of UFC Hall of Famer Randy “the Natural” Couture. Couture will be facing former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, in what he has said will be the last fight of his MMA career . While this isn’t the first time Couture has announced he will be walking away from the sport of MMA, it does seem like it might be the real deal this time.
Couture came into the sport of MMA with a strong wrestling base, after a solid career as a collegiate wrestler and Olympic alternate. Couture’s first MMA fight was at the UFC 13 event, where he faced a bigger Tony Halme. Couture had no problems against Halme, submitting him via rear naked choke in the first round.
Couture adapted quickly to the sport of MMA, and quickly turned into a fan favorite. He won the UFC heavyweight title in his fourth match as a professional MMA fighter. After a dispute with the UFC, Couture left the MMA promotion, and his belt was stripped. He returned to the promotion at the UFC 28 MMA fight event where he defeated Kevin Randleman, and won his second heavyweight belt.
Randy would go on to win a couple of more UFC championships, defeating Chuck Liddell for the light-heavyweight belt, and later coming back from retirement and defeating Tim Silva for the heavyweight title. After successfully defending his belt against Gabriel Gonzaga, a dispute with the UFC prompted Couture to leave the MMA promotion. Couture would stay away from MMA for year, before coming back to defend his title against Brock Lesnar. Couture ended up losing his fight against Lesnar, but has won three of his four MMA fights since then. Given the fact Couture is almost 48 years old (yes he was born in 1963!); most MMA enthusiasts have no problems giving him all the credit in the world.
If Randy keeps his word and steps away from the sport after the UFC 129 MMA fight event, it will be the end of an era that was inspirational to all of us. An era that told us nothing is impossible.