Heading into last year, lightweight Ryan Couture was at a low point in his career following his release from the UFC after back-to-back losses in 2013.
Determined to get things back on track, Couture took two fights in the Battlegrounds MMA promotion, winning both of them, and then followed those with a victory in his Bellator debut in September.
“I really feel like I got my priorities right in training and got focused on what I needed to be focused on and went out and executed as I should in those fights,” Couture told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m happy to be back on track and to have the opportunity to be in Bellator and start working my way up the rankings.”
Couture credits his turnaround to the instruction of his father Randy’s former coach at Team Quest in Oregon.
“We had some staffing changes at the (Xtreme Couture) gym and Coach (Robert) Follis came on and Coach (Neil) Melanson left and it switched up some of my training,” said Couture. “It’s turned out to be a blessing.
“Robert’s got me focused on what I’m best at and has adjusted my style and game plan where it needs to be. It’s really paid off these last three fights and has me moving forward.”
Couture (9-3) will return to Bellator on Friday in Thackerville, Okla., against veteran Dakota Cochrane (18-7) in a 155-pound showdown.
“I think I’ve got to be ready to go out there and go three hard rounds because Dakota is very durable and he keeps coming forward with strong wrestling and is a very explosive guy,” said Couture.
“I think I’m going to have to really be ready to stop that takedown and work my own takedown game and get top position and make it my fight. If I can’t (make it my fight), it’s going to be a barn burner with us really getting after each other.”
Couture feels Cochrane will provide a good gauge for where he’s at in his career at this point and further help him build his foundation in Bellator as he moves forward.
“(Cochrane) has a lot of great wins on his resume and experience, so if I can come out and put on an impressive performance against him and put him away, it will be a big step for me,” said Couture.
“I’m just definitely taking it fight-by-fight right now and seeing how it goes. If I can have another solid year (in 2015) and string a couple wins together against some top competition, next year is going to be huge for me.”