- Full name Randy Duane Couture
- Nickname Captain America
- Birth date June 22, 1963
- Birth place Everett, Washington
- Current age 51 years 303 days
- Height 6 ft 2 in
- Weight 205 lb
The word 'legend' is bandied around far too regularly in sport, but Randy Couture is the very definition of a legend in the world of MMA.
A five-time UFC champion, three times at heavyweight and twice at light-heavyweight, Couture is a UFC Hall-of-Famer and one of only two men (alongside BJ Penn) to have held UFC titles at two different weight classes.
Couture's MMA record never appears to be the most outstanding, but 15 times he stepped inside the Octagon for a title fight, either as a challenger or a champion. That does not even cover the heavyweight tournament Couture won in the early days, right back when he burst onto the UFC scene in 1997.
Nicknamed "Captain America", Couture spent his entire career overcoming the odds, picking up his first UFC title by beating heavyweight champion Maurice Smith. After a spell away from the UFC Couture was stripped of his belt, forcing him to recapture it against Kevin Randleman at UFC 28 before later losing to Josh Barnett. However, Barnett tested positive for drugs so an interim bout was set up between Couture and Ricco Rodriguez, which Rodriguez won via strikes.
It was time for Couture to step down to 205lbs in order to embark on the most exciting trilogy in UFC history, against Chuck Liddell. Greco-Roman wrestler Couture won the first battle against his big-punching foe to take the interim light-heavyweight title, before claiming the undisputed crown against Tito Ortiz. Couture briefly lost the belt and then reclaimed it against Vitor Belfort, before losing it again in the second Liddell encounter.
Liddell and Couture became the icons upon which the UFC built its organisation, with both men coaching teams of fighters in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, which is credited with saving the UFC's existence. Liddell triumphed in the decisive third encounter, prompting Couture to announce his retirement.
Retirement only made Couture's finest hour all the more remarkable though when, as a retired four-time champion and part-time commentator, he returned to the gym once more to beat 6ft 8in champion Tim Sylvia, who had been on a six-fight win streak. Joe Rogan's famous commentary line declared "Randy Couture, you are my hero" as "The Natural" reclaimed the gold for a fifth reign.
Brock Lesnar interrupted that reign, but the living legend still fought on at light-heavyweight, adding to his legacy with every fight. Challenged to a boxing vs MMA match with James Toney, Couture defended his sport's good name with a resounding victory over the mouthy Toney, earning chants of "UFC, UFC" from the Boston crowd.
The final chapter finally came at UFC 129, when a 47-year-old Couture was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in front of the biggest crowd in UFC history. A fitting way to bow out.
There are so many to choose from. Beating the seemingly invincible Vitor Belfort at UFC 15 was a great moment, as was Couture's victory over Chuck Liddell for the light-heavyweight title at UFC 43. But surely the defining moment of his career arrived at UFC 68 when, having spent 12 months in retirement, he put down the microphone to defeat Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title.
Not so much a low as a regret, Randy would dearly loved to have edged the trilogy with Chuck Liddell. Likewise, the script seemed written for him to chop down Brock Lesnar, but those storylines remain unfulfilled.
"This is the last time you'll see me in these gloves and these shorts in this Octagon, because I'm retiring. That's it for me. It's time to do something else."
Randy makes an emotional exit, only to then make a memorable return.
Randy Couture was in the US Army for six years.
- Randy Couture wants no part of Junior Dos Santos (Jun 6, 2012)
- Couture names two men who could beat Jon Jones (Apr 20, 2012)
- Randy Couture called in to replace Rashad Evans (Apr 10, 2012)
- Couture predicts Penn return amidst Melendez talk (Dec 19, 2011)
Just wait... Lesnar will be the best he's been - Couture (Dec 14, 2011)