CageJunkies Spotlight: “Captain America” Randy Couture
With today being the Fourth of July, we were kicking around ideas of how to best celebrate the holiday on the site. One person said “[l]et’s analyze the history of America!” Another yelled “[l]et’s play Rambo on the site over and over!” Finally we agreed, the best MMA-related way to celebrate is to put the spotlight on UFC’s “Captain America” Randy Couture. So how did Couture get the moniker “Captain America”? His proud service in our Army and his obvious affection for the red, white, and blue shown by his carrying of Old Glory to the octagon.
And what made Couture a great mixed martial-artist? He is a three-time former heavyweight champion and a two-time light-heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Couture is the first fighter to hold two UFC championship titles in two different divisions (heavyweight and light heavyweight). Couture has competed in a record 15 title fights. He also holds the most title reigns in the UFC with five. His last fight with Lyoto Machida put him in a tie with Matt Hughes in having the highest number of fights in the UFC at 24. Couture is one of the first members of the UFC Hall of Fame. Oh… and many consider him to be one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.
Couture made his MMA debut at UFC 13 in May 1997. He entered a four-man Heavyweight tournament, and defeated Tony Halme, also known as WWF wrestler Ludvig Borga and Steven Graham. He went on to win the heavyweight championship against Maurice Smith by decision in December of 1997 at UFC Ultimate Japan. He won the championship for a second time against Kevin Randleman via TKO (strikes) in November of 2000 at UFC 28: High Stakes.
Couture moved down a weight class to fight at 205 lbs in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. In his light heavyweight debut, Couture took on long-time number one contender Chuck Liddell for the interim light heavyweight championship at UFC 43: Meltdown. Couture was again the underdog, but secured victory by TKO via strikes from the mount position. Couture became the only UFC competitor to win championship titles in two weight classes. His next match was billed as a “Champion vs. Champion” fight in order to settle who was the rightful, undisputed champion of the division. Couture faced the five-time defending champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 44: Undisputed for the undisputed light heavyweight title. Couture won a unanimous decision and became the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion at age 40.
On June 24, 2006, during The Ultimate Fighter 3 finale, which was broadcast live on Spike TV, Couture became the fourth fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, joining Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, and Ken Shamrock.
On January 11, 2007, Couture appeared for an interview on the Spike TV magazine show, “Inside the UFC”, to announce his return from retirement. At the age of 43, Couture defeated then-champion Tim Sylvia at UFC 68: The Uprising by unanimous decision to claim his third UFC heavyweight title.
At age 46, Couture defeated Brandon Vera at UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera to become the oldest fighter to ever win a fight in the UFC. Couture beat fellow Hall of Famer Mark Coleman at UFC 109: Relentless. It also marked the first time that UFC Hall of Famers fought against each other in the Octagon.
After losing to Lyoto Machida at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields, Couture announced that he was “finally done fighting” at the age of 47.
So thank you Randy. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your efforts in the Octagon. And happy Fourth of July everyone!