UFC/MMA: Randy Couture
Why do Northwesterners love Randy Couture?
It’s not just because he’s the Cal Ripken Jr. of mixed martial arts, because he was the first man to win UFC titles in two different weight classes or because he’s a movie star.
It’s because he’s one of their own!
Couture was born in Everett, Washington and won a state wrestling championship with Lynwood High School in Lynwood, Washington. Couture took his wrestling skills all over after that, wrestling and boxing in the U.S. army in the 1980s, coaching wrestling and conditioning at Oregon State, becoming a three-time Olympic alternate in Greco-Roman wrestling and excelling in NCAA Division-I wrestling with Oklahoma State.
In 1997, Couture made his UFC debut and choked out Tony Halme, who outweighed him by 100 pounds. A star was born.
Using his trademark Greco-Roman clinch work and dirty boxing against the cage, Couture embarked on one of the greatest careers in MMA history.
His 19-11 record looks mediocre but doesn’t tell the full story; Couture has battled in a record 15 title fights, always matched up against elite competition.
He won his first UFC heavyweight championship in 1997 and his first light heavyweight championship in 2003. He’s known for his epic bouts with Chuck Liddell, the first of which he won and the last two of which he lost.
Arguably, Couture’s greatest feat as a fighter came on March 3, 2007.
Then 43 years old, he dropped 6’9” heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia with a big right hand off the opening bell, dominated him for five rounds and became the sport’s oldest-ever champion.
Couture lost the title to Brock Lesnar, dropped back down to light heavyweight and fought there until retiring this past April after a loss to Lyoto Machida.
We’ll still see plenty of Randy Couture going forward. “The Natural” is apparently a natural acting talent, too. Well, he’s at least a good fit for action movies. His biggest hit so far is The Expendables and he’ll soon star in a sequel to the blockbuster.
Even though he’s 48 years old, you just never know if he’ll make another comeback. Randy always seems to be the one guy who can pull it off at his age.