For a span of just over a year and a half, things couldn’t have gone much better for Bellator lightweight Ryan Couture. Starting in January of 2014, Couture picked up four straight wins, including his first two for Bellator.
Since then, though, it’s been a bit of a rougher road. A fight cancellation at Bellator 143 due to Nick Gonzalez not making weight was followed four months later by a first-round TKO loss to Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, after Couture’s original opponent, Derek Anderson, had to drop out of their fight.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com during his final preparations to take on Gioti Yamauchi at Bellator 162 on Friday, Oct. 21, Couture discussed his recent difficulties, getting things back on track, and his plans for the closing months of 2016.
Ryan Couture: It’s definitely been a couple of frustrating things in a row. (Gonzalez missing weight) was frustrating, but easy to move past. It is what it is, and there’s nothing really to be done about it. I had a much tougher time bouncing back after taking such a brutal loss in January. It definitely took me a few months to regroup.
First and foremost, just make sure I was healthy, and then kind of mentally get over those hurdles and get back into sparring and mixing it up a little bit, and being comfortable getting hit. It was an uphill battle for a little while, but I came through it and I’m excited to be back in training, and am gearing up for another competition.
MMAWeekly.com: Having been around MMA for much of your life, does that help you deal with adversity or does that come more from your own maturation process as a fighter?
Ryan Couture: I think a little bit of both. I’ve seen plenty of friends and teammates and family move past adversity and have to deal with those things. Everyone reacts differently, so you never know what you’re going to get, but I think having some of that experience being around the sport helped, but it’s up to each person to grow, mature and know what they have to do to move past it.
MMAWeekly.com: Tell us your thoughts on your upcoming bout with Yamauchi at Bellator 162, and what you feel you must do in order to get the win against him.
Ryan Couture: I think he’s an exciting fighter and is an incredible grappler, which is fun. I’m looking forward to testing myself against someone who is such a skilled submission artist. My strengths haven’t changed, so it’s going to be in my best interest to close the distance and get my hands on him, and work for the clinch to wear him down and put him on his back. I’m going to have to be on my A game to shut down his submissions, but I think I’m up to the task, and I’m looking forward to putting him on his back and beat him up.
MMAWeekly.com: Is it more of a challenge or more of a motivator to face someone who is strong on the ground as are you with your game?
Ryan Couture: It’s exciting when someone might welcome that chance to grapple with me. I’m so used to my last… hell, I don’t know how many fights… every time I get close to a guy and get a hold of him, he’s trying to stiff-arm me and get back to space. The idea to be in there with someone who is happy to challenge me there and test their skills against mine in those situations is exciting and I think will make for an interesting fight, and the type of fight that I haven’t been in a long time.
MMAWeekly.com: With a couple months left in the year, do you see yourself getting back in the cage again or are you more readying yourself for 2017?
Ryan Couture: It’s not completely out of the question getting back in before the end of the year. I’m not entirely sure what Bellator’s schedule is, so I would expect that I won’t be back until 2017 after this one. Unless something comes up and there’s an opportunity to turn around a little quicker, I’ll just be gearing up for the holidays with family.