One thing any mixed martial arts fan would have never expected to see is a fighter winning three UFC Championships well into his 40s. Then again that’s what makes the foundation of Randy Couture all the more legendary.
“The Natural” will reportedly have his retirement bout take place at UFC 129 this Sunday, May 1. Randy will put a final nod in his career as he faces former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in front of a sellout crowd of 55,000 fans at the Rogers Center in Toronto.
While an aging underdog going up against a heavy favorite doesn’t exactly spell a happy retirement, Couture has made a career out of coming up with outstanding game plans to overcome outlandish odds.
Such was the case when Couture, then 34, knocked out a young UFC 12 Tournament winner in Vitor Belfort back in 1997, or when he came out of his first retirement and captured Tim Sylvia’s UFC Heavyweight title in an epic match 10 years later.
We duly believe Randy has a solid chance of pulling off a winning farewell. He is after all, more than your average middle-aged fellow. Guys his age could be doing the same things – trying to get fit, running successful businesses, and making money – except they’re not fighting a Machida Karate champion from Brazil this weekend.
Randy has lived a life inclined to the athletics; the man took up wrestling, football, and soccer back in high school, honed his skills in boxing while serving in the US Army, and became a three-time Olympic team alternate in the 90s before eventually venturing into MMA.
Though losses also honed Randy’s career – getting decimated by Brock Lesnar, being out-grappled by Antonio Noguiera, and getting knocked out by Chuck Liddell – it only helped him get over with the fans more by being a constant underdog and outrunning Father Time all too many times.
More than a decade into his MMA career, Couture takes pride in being a five-time UFC Champion in two different weight classes, outclassing different generations of fighters in Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort, and Mark Coleman.
To date, Couture is also a budding movie star – he starred in a piss-poor Scorpion King sequel and in last year’s The Expendables – and founder of Xtreme Couture, one of the biggest fight camps in MMA today. Retirement is not without its perks.
All the same, we wish for Randy to bypass the Brett Favres and the Michael Jordans and hang up his gloves for good, so he could lead a pain-free, natural life. We mean come on, the man’s 47 years old.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO