Article

Ryan Couture: Arriving Ahead of Schedule

"I think that anybody who legitimately goes and watches my fights can see that and see the improvement and see that I’m the real deal." - Ryan Couture
UFC lightweight Ryan CoutureYou might think that as the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, Ryan Couture has been walking a gold-paved road on his way up the MMA ranks and into the UFC. You would also be wrong.

Yet while being Ryan Smith or Ryan Johnson may not have gotten him a UFC contract after seven pro fights, the Las Vegan has more than earned his right to be in the UFC on FUEL TV co-main event against Ross Pearson this Saturday after scoring Strikeforce wins over Conor Heun, Joe Duarte, and KJ Noons. Yeah, the name of his father will inevitably pop up in any pre-fight related conversation, but Ryan Couture is his own man.

“We’re still talking about Dad in every interview, so that will never change, but I feel like I’ve established myself as a legitimate fighter, and no one can argue that,” said the 30-year-old. “I think especially once I get this first UFC win under my belt, then that will go that much further towards wiping out anybody who wants to naysay and say I’m just riding the coattails of the family name. That’s always gonna be there to some extent, and there’s always gonna be someone hoping to get a rise out of me or get some attention by talking like that, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and happy with the work I’ve been able to put in and the improvements I’ve been able to make. I think that anybody who legitimately goes and watches my fights can see that and see the improvement and see that I’m the real deal.”

Speaking of “The Real Deal,” in England’s Pearson, Couture isn’t getting a fellow newcomer or a prospect on the rise for his first UFC bout. He’s fighting a former Ultimate Fighter winner with as many Octagon victories as Couture has in his entire pro career (six), and a battle-tested vet who is coming off a main event knockout win over George Sotiropoulos last December. But that’s just the kind of matchup Couture would expect for his UFC debut.

“I just fought KJ Noons,” said Couture, who scored a split decision win over Noons on the final Strikeforce card in January. “That guy’s a former champion, he’s been in there with Nick Diaz on multiple occasions, so I wasn’t expecting a step down from that. Ross is right on par with that level of competition that I expected, and I think it’s good. I think I’ve worked hard and performed and shown them what I can do, and this is just a testament to that.”

And even though Pearson admitted recently that he liked the bad blood leading up to his win over Sotiropoulos last year, he’s not going to get any ammo from the classy and soft-spoken Couture in that regard.

“I’m a fan of his,” he said of Pearson. “He’s got a fun to watch, aggressive style, he’s a dangerous striker, and that always makes for an interesting matchup with me, because if I can’t get the fight to the floor, which is no easy thing to do against Ross, then it’s gonna make for another exciting fight like the last one was, though hopefully without the near knockout issue I had against KJ.”

Couture chuckles when referring to the segment of the Noons fight when he got rocked and was put in serious danger of being stopped for the first time in his career. You can do that when you weather the storm, clear your head, and come back to win a hard-fought decision, and after getting the biggest win of his two and a half year pro career, it’s just another notch in his belt.

Yet despite the progression he’s shown in his game ever since arriving on the MMA scene, Couture admits that without the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce and the subsequent closing of the promotion, he was probably not going to be on track for a UFC berth so soon.

“I think the biggest reason that it has happened is that when Zuffa bought out Strikeforce, the learning curve got steep, and the make or break or turning point for me was that fight with Conor last March,” he said. “That was my first big step up to an established opponent, and the way I was able to rise to the occasion and then really step things up in training and go out and perform as well as I did on fight night sort of set the tone. Then they kept raising the bar every fight out, and from that first experience I had the confidence to know that I was capable of working hard enough to go out there and win those fights, even though technically on paper I probably wasn’t supposed to. So that was the turning point where it seemed attainable, but if you would have asked me just starting out how long it would take, I would have thought I’d still be a long ways away.”

That long ways away has turned into one day away, and if Couture is nervous about his debut, he’s not showing it. Then again, that’s been a hallmark of his career thus far. Despite being the underdog against bigger names, when it came time to shut the gate and ring the bell, he was there to fight and he found a way to win. So when it comes to the first time UFC jitters, it’s not a huge concern, especially since he’s had a better insight into the big fight atmosphere than most debutants.

“Every fight I’ve ever had has been televised and has been on a pretty big show and been professionally run, and that fight week lead up for the last five fights now since the Zuffa buyout, the way that they do things is gonna be the same, even though it was Strikeforce and now it’s the UFC,” he said. “So all of that fight week stuff, I feel like it’s gonna be old hat for me and very familiar, and then the experience of getting to corner Dad for some of his big fights, even the one overseas in Manchester, and being right there cageside at UFC events, including the Toronto show with 55,000 people there, I think that will take away some of the jitters that I would have had over the magnitude of the crowd. So I don’t foresee it being a big issue. That said, before my first pro fight, I said ‘I don’t feel any more nervous than I did for the amateur fights,’ and then afterwards, that release that I felt and that load off that I felt, I knew at that point that I had been feeling a lot of pressure and was trying to ignore it. So it could be the same story here; we’ll see once the fight’s over. But as of now, I feel like it’s more of the same.”

Sounds like a Couture is ready to fight.



Watch Past Fights

미디어

최근
UFC 해설자 조 로건이 UFN 라스베이거스 대회 메인이벤트 토마스 알메이다-코디 가브런트 5라운드 대결에 대해 살펴본다. 대회는 폭스스포츠 1 채널을 통해 무료로 중계되며, 라스베이거스 만달레이 이벤트 센터에서 열린다.
2016. 5. 26
UFC 밴텀급 토마스 알메이다는 무패 전적을 유지하며 체급 랭킹 10위권으로 진입하기 위해 수없이 많은 땀을 흘렸다. 알메이다는 이제 UFN 라스베이거스 대회에서 코디 가브런트를 맞이하며 정상을 향한 여정을 계속한다.
2016. 5. 26
토마스 알메이다가 UFC 특파원 아만다 살바토의 인터뷰에 한다. 알메이다와 살바토는 함께 경주차량에 탑승해 직접 차량을 몰아본다. 현재 무패행진 중인 알메이다가 노리는 것은 이번 일요일 코디 가브런트를 꺾고 21승 무패 전적을 기록하는 것이다.
2016. 5. 26
동부 오후 9시 서부 오후 6시 UFN 라스베이거스 대회가 막을 올린다. 코디 가브런트 vs. 토마스 알메이다 대결이 메인이벤트다. 헤난 바라오-제레미 스티븐스 대결을 비롯해 다양한 경기가 준비되어 있다.
2016. 5. 26