It would be easy for Ryan Couture to get caught up in all hype that surrounds being the son of one of the sport’s most iconic fighters, former multi-weight class UFC champion Randy Couture, but that’s not who he is.
“I just stay focused on the work I put in up to fight day,” Couture told MMAWeekly.com. “I put in so much blood, sweat, and tears, and focus on that other than worry about what anyone’s expectations are.
“That’s what tends to carry me through it and keeps me from getting too stressed out or distracted from what is important, which is going out and performing.”
With two wins in his first two pro fights, Couture has shown growth each time out, and he’s kept that hard-working philosophy going as he prepares to return to action Friday night at Strikeforce Challengers 16 in Kent, Wash.
“One of the things we really focused on this camp has been my footwork; it’s going to look that much better than it has in the past,” said Couture. “I’ve also been working on getting better on top; getting into that top position and doing some damage from there.”
Couture understands his game needs to constantly grow if he’s going to compete in the top tier of the sport.
“My ground game has always been geared towards playing guard, and that’s really not the way to win fights at the higher level, I think,” he said.
“I’ve been working with (strength and conditioning coach) Jake Bonacci at Xtreme Couture, and he’s done a great job making me a better athlete and stronger. I think that’s going to have to continue to evolve to hang with some of these beasts that are fighting at 155 (pounds) right now.”
Friday night Couture will square off against Matt Ricehouse in a match that could resemble looking in a mirror for both fighters.
“He’s about as similar in skill and style that I’ll find in any fight, so that’s going to be kind of a fun challenge to fight someone whose style so closely mimics mine,” said Couture. “I think it’s just going to be a matter of sticking with the things we worked on in camp and just try to really be better at what we’re both good at.
“I think I’m going to be a little tighter and leave a few less openings will be what carries me to victory.”
Training at Xtreme Couture with some of the premier talent in MMA has also given Couture reason to be thinking positive heading into Friday night.
“I’m definitely not going to run anybody on fight night that can hang with the guys that I get beat up by in the gym every day,” he said. “That’s something I carry with me that gives me a lot of confidence.”
While fast tracking his career could be easy due to his family connections, Couture is content to take one thing at a time and let things develop naturally as the year goes on.
“I’ve got to focus on Friday first and foremost, but I’d like to at least get one more fight in if possible,” he said. “I just plan on staying in the gym, constantly improving to be a better fighter every time out.”