By Zack Zeigler
Photos Courtesy of UFC
UFC legend Randy “The Natural” Couture has said his fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 this Saturday will be the last in his illustrious MMA career. At the age of 47, the five-time world champion and UFC Hall of Famer has chosen to walk away from the sport he helped build into a global success. Prior to his final fight, Couture — who also goes by the nickname Captain America — took time out from training to speak with Marvel.com
|Randy ''The Natural'' Couture|
Marvel.com: Did you even think some in-fight comment by [UFC commentator] Joe Rogan, when he referred to you “Captain America,” would have followed you this long?
Randy Couture: No, I’m surprised it stuck. After Joe coined it back in 2001, when I think I was fighting Pedro Rizzo, I started getting crazy emails with my face superimposed on Captain America’s body, and Captain America merchandise. It was funny.
Marvel.com: Have you ever considered some of the similarities between you and Steve Rogers/Captain America? You both come from military backgrounds, tough as hell, and you’ve led the way in your own respective endeavors.
Randy Couture: Huh. That’s interesting. Well, my only hope is that the UFC will continue to grow in a global way and solidify itself in the mainstream as the combative sport for this generation.
Marvel.com: Steve Rogers has had a tough time embracing his new role off the front lines as “America’s top cop” following Siege.” Do you anticipate the change being tough for you when you move from fighter to trainer?
Randy Couture: I know it’ll be a challenge.
|Randy Couture Wins the UFC Championship|
Marvel.com: You’re already thinking about fighting in the UFC again, aren’t you? You can tell us. We can keep a secret.
Randy Couture: No. I don’t think there’s anything out there that could change my mind. I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to in this sport. But it’ll be tough to be around the sport and all the guys and not compete. But this is the right thing for me right now.
Marvel.com: For the swan song of your fighting career, Hemingway couldn’t have written a better ending: You’re walking away from the sport on your own terms as a five-time world champion. That’s not always the case for fighters.
Randy Couture: You know, I think it’s the only way for me to go out. I’ve seen some people on the other end of things who are forced to make a decision, and I didn’t want it to be like that.
Marvel.com: After you returned from retirement part one in 2006, have you ever felt that you lost a step, or that you couldn’t hold your own, and that it was time to get out?
Randy Couture: I’ve always been confident in my abilities, but before I had a lot of other stuff going on and I wasn’t getting the job done. I wasn’t having as much fun, and I needed a break. When the dust settled and I started to feel like myself, I came back to compete again and it’s been an amazing run. Now things are going great. I don’t think it can get much better, and it’s the right time. My 30th fight, there will be a great crowd in Toronto, and Lyoto Machida is a guy I wanted to fight a while. It’s the right time to think about doing something else.
Marvel.com: What was so different in your life before, and did overcoming those obstacles make you a better fighter?
Randy Couture: The losses are what made me a better fighter. Those times I fell short and had to look at my training and see why I wasn’t getting it right. I had to make sure the same mistake didn’t happen twice. But at that time, I was going through a nasty divorce. My family and friends were caught in the mess and I wasn’t getting the most out of myself. I moved to Vegas to get some space and to let dust settle. I learned a lot about myself in that process and I’m better off for having gone through it. But it sucked at the time.
|Randy Couture Connects With a Knee Strike|
Marvel.com: Do you care about being the underdog in your last fight?
Randy Couture: It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t look at the odds because at the end of the day, we have to get into the cage and fight.
Marvel.com: If someone says, “Randy Couture is best fighter in UFC history.”
What do you say to that?
Randy Couture: I don’t think about it. Those are things that other people talk about. I’m a fighter. I do what I do, and I let that stuff sort itself out.
Marvel.com: After the fight, what’s next? Movies? You were in “The Expendables” and have read for parts in “Daredevil” and “Elektra.” Are films your next focus?
Randy Couture: Movies, yeah. We’re doing “The Expendables 2” in August, and there’s a movie called “Hijacked” I’ll be doing in May. And, you know, I’ve got the clothing line, action figures … there ‘s a bunch of stuff that’s running, and it’s all going well.Remember, catch Randy battling Lyoto Machida this Saturday, April 30 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Check out UFC.com for details.