Following Randy Couture’s first round win over boxer James Toney at UFC 118, the UFC hall-of-famer began to hint that retirement may now be a serious option.
A little over a month later in a new interview with MMA:30’s Dave Farra the 47 year-old appears to be edging even closer to calling time on his remarkable career.
“I mean I just don’t know,” Couture said after a pregnant pause when asked if he had a desire to make another run at the light-heavyweight title. “I’m trying to honestly evaluate that now and see how many wars I got left in me, and there’s definitely some wars in the division, so…”
That’s not the kind of answer we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the multiple time champion who’s shown a strong desire throughout his career to fight the best of the best.
So what’s changed?
I think the Brandon Vera fight in November of last year was a wake-up call for him. He went into that fight after two losses at heavyweight to Brock Lesnar and Big Nog. No doubt he hoped that cutting back down to 205lbs would give him a new lease of life, but it didn’t exactly pan out that way.
He won, but it was a controversial judges decision with many thinking Vera had done enough to be given the nod. Couture also looked shaky in the stand-up exchanges, being dropped by a body shot and being forced to use the clinch not only as a strategic tool but also as a means of survival with his chin clearly having seen better days.
Afterwards it became increasingly difficult to picture Couture as a genuine threat to the division’s top talents like ‘Shogun’ Rua, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Rampage Jackson, along with emerging stars like Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
It’s perhaps not surprising then that the UFC have taken a step down in the level of talent they’ve given Couture since. Easy wins over a long past his sell-by-date Mark Coleman and out of his depth James Toney have helped the legendary fighter stay in the win column, but done little to progress him towards a title shot.
The other big change has been in Couture’s interests outside of the cage. A role in the recent summer blockbuster ‘The Expendables’ has opened his eyes to a new challenge, and it’s one that has clearly taken a hold of him.
“That’s certainly what my interest is right now,” he admits. “I think that I’ve had an amazing year and it’s time to start looking at that for sure. That’s probably what’s going to carry me through the next 10 or 15 years.”
‘Probably’ is the key word here I think. being brutally honest, if anyone’s seen ‘The Expendables’ then you’ll probably have noticed that Couture’s not going to be up for an Oscar nomination anytime soon so it remains to be seen whether he can really make a go of it in the cut-throat world of the movie industry.
“I’ve been working on trying to find a new movie part recently, but…little success there, so we’ll just wait and see,” he says.
Reading between the lines it seems that if he was offered a movie role then that would he would take that over another fight and as a result it would probably spell an end to his MMA career.
Personally I hope that movie role does come about. Couture has had an amazing career and has nothing left to prove in the sport. I believe holding the title again is now out of his reach and If he continues to step into the octagon then it’s only a matter of time before his luck runs out and he gets badly beaten.
Couture is a smart man and hopefully he’s learned from others like Chuck Liddell and Mirko Cro Cop who stayed in the fight game longer than they should have and paid the price. It’d be much better to end his career on a three fight winning streak, even if it is padded out with a couple of cans.
Gut feeling though – whether it’s because his fledgling movie career falters or because he’s offered a fight he can’t refuse, I can’t help but feel that we’ve not seen the last of ‘The Natural’ in the UFC.
Watch Couture’s full interview below.