Ryan Couture’s venture into MMA has been anything but conventional.
As the son of one of the sport’s most beloved and legendary fighters, UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture, Ryan has experienced a level of attention and scrutiny few up-and-coming fighters at the beginning of their careers have endured.
Yet, through it all, he’s adjusted and more importantly, is making a name for himself as a fighter to be dealt with on his own merits.
MMAWeekly.com caught up with Couture as he finalized preparations to face Lee Higgins at Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers 14 in Cedar Creek, Texas, to discuss his career, being the son of an icon, and what lays ahead for his future.
MMAWeekly: Before we get into your upcoming fight, let’s go back to last August and your pro debut win over Lucas Stark. How do you feel about that whole experience?
Ryan Couture: I thought it was a really good experience. It was just like a bigger and better version of my amateur fights. I feel like I had some good practice runs and dealt with some of the media attention – but not nearly on that scale – and I felt like stepping up to that next level went really well.
MMAWeekly: Did you anticipate the level of interest and coverage you ended up receiving?
Ryan Couture: I kind of expected it, just because people are so interested in dad and everything he does. I kind of had a feeling some of that would trickle down. I also had seen the sort of the frenzy caused when Kim (Couture, Randy’s ex-wife) was trying to make a go as a fighter, so I had an idea that I would be catching more attention than people starting out. It kind of exceeded my expectations, but I enjoyed it.
MMAWeekly: You were scheduled to return in October, but had to bow out of the fight due to a staph infection. Was it disappointing, or having been around the fight game so long, had you learn to accept it as part of the sport?
Ryan Couture: I had a lot hard work in and was having a really good training camp up to that point, so that setback was definitely a letdown. At the same time, like you said, having been around the sport a long time, I know those kinds of infections and injuries are part of the game. It was hard to be too beat up over it, but spending the night in the hospital when I was supposed to be in the cage was definitely a downer.
MMAWeekly: Let’s talk about this Friday’s bout with Lee Higgins. What do you think about the fight?
Ryan Couture: I like the way our styles match up. We’re both at our best on the ground and we both like to submit guys, so I think it will be a crowd pleaser. I think whichever one of us gets out of position and gives the other the advantage on the ground is probably going to end up being on the losing end. I’ve just got to make sure I’m sharp and make sure I’m on point with my grappling.
I hope to have the chance to show off some of my striking, I do have an advantage there, but every time I go out there and try to knock somebody out I end up grappling with them anyway.
MMAWeekly: Would you like to have a fight where you just go out and bang with someone and see what happens?
Ryan Couture: I’m not really big on the whole standing there and trading with (my opponents). I’d like to go out there and hit somebody and not get hit. I don’t feel the need to be in a brawl and bang it out with anybody, but I definitely would like to show off the striking that I’ve worked so hard to develop.
MMAWeekly: Is your goal for this year to continue to take it slowly, one fight at a time, or is there a sense of urgency to capitalize on the buzz that surrounds you?
Ryan Couture: At this point, I want to take fights that make sense for where I’m at, where my skills are at, and match up with guys who are a good challenge and help me take the next step towards the fighter I want to be. I’d like to get four fights and four wins in this year and then I think if I can do that I can have a good head of steam going and good momentum to start moving up the ranks this year.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time Ryan. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
Ryan Couture: As always a huge thanks to my whole team at Xtreme Couture and Xtreme Couture Management for helping me get in shape and getting all this lined up and making it possible. I want to thank everyone that’s taken an interest in my career and supported me. I urge everyone to tune into Showtime Friday night and check out the fights; it’s going to be a great show.