Tribute to the Legend: Five Randy Couture's Greatest FightsPosted on May 2, 2011, 07:15 AM by Anton Gurevich
UFC Hall of Famer Randy "The Natural" Couture went into his final battle last Sunday, fighting against the fellow former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. Fourty-seven year old Couture was KO'd by Machida's spectacular Crane Kick in front of 55,000 Mixed Martial Arts fans at Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Machida's kick was a proof of how much the sport moved forward since Randy Couture's first fight inside the Octagon at UFC 13. After fourteen years of glorious MMA career, it's time for "The Natural" to hang up his gloves and leave with his head high.
Randy Couture said the following in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan (via MMAMania.com):
"This is it. I think the last time we had this conversation I had all my teeth.He’s a tremendous fighter. It felt like I was standing still out there, and he caught me with a great kick. The fans have always treated me great, but to go out on that ovation was very special."
Couture retires with a host of remarkable achievements in his MMA career, such as a two UFC Light Heavyweight titles, and three UFC Heavyweight titles. Here's five of Couture's greatest fights, that in my opnion truly define MMA first hero, The Captain America. Feel free to share your list of Randy's Top 5 in the comments section below:
1. UFC 43: TKO victory over Chuck Liddell (Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Title)
The fight against Chuck Liddell proved for the first time that impossible is nothing for Rnady Couture. Captain America was a heavy underdog coming to this fight, especially after two back to back losses against Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. KO machine Chuck Liddell was at the peak of his career at this time, with a 10-fight winning streak inside the Octagon. Couture surprised with a striking gameplan, instead of just sticking to his natural advantage in wrestling. After going toe-to-toe with "The Iceman" for two rounds, Couture shocked the MMA around the world with a TKO victory at 2:40 minute mark of Round 3.
2. UFC 68: Unanimous Decision victory over Tim Sylvia (UFC Heavyweight Title)
Couture came back from retirement against Tim Sylvia, once again as a heavy underdog (+210 to Sylvia's -270). Just like Chuck Liddell at UFC 43, Tim Sylvia enjoyed the prime time of his career with two consecutive UFC Heavyweight title defenses against Andrei Arlovski and Jeff Monson. The fight started with Randy Couture knocking down Tim Sylvia in what was without a doubt one of the greatest moments in MMA history. Couture continued to dominate the fight, leaving the Octagon with a Unanimous Decision victory and his third UFC Heavyweight title.
3. UFC 44: Unanimous Decision victory over Tito Ortiz (UFC Light Heavyweight Title)
After almost one year out of action, Tito Ortiz was finally back inside the Octagon for his sixth UFC Light Heavyweight title defense. The fight against the much younger Tito Ortiz was one of the toughest in Couture's career, but "The Natural" still managed to get the victory after 25 minutes of close battle. It was Randy Couture's first UFC Light Heavyweight title triumph, just three months after defeating Chuck Liddell.
4. UFC 74: TKO victory over Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC Heavyweight Title defense)
Randy Couture reached the peak of his skill level as a Mixed Martial Artist in a fight against Gabriel Gonzaga. Napao was fresh off the famous victory over Mirko Cro Cop, and was widely considered as one of the best Heavyweights on the planet. Couture fought with a perfect gameplan, outstriking and outwrestling Gabriel Gonzaga throughout the fight. Gonzaga suffered most of the damage at the fence, where "The Natural" punished the challenger with his trademark dirty boxing skills. The referee Herb Dean stopped the contest at the beginning of round 3, in what was without a doubt a legendary performance by Randy Couture.
5. UFC 102: Unanimous Decision loss against Minotauro Nogueira
Despite the loss, I still consider Randy Couture's fight against Big Nog to be one of Captain America's greatest performances. Randy Couture showed tremendous heart during the fight, defending Nogueira's submission attempts and recovering from a few hard punches. Couture hit back at Nogueira with strikes of his own, but was unable to change the course of the fight, as all three judges awarded Big Nog a Unanimous Decision victory. The fight had an excellent pace, with both legends using a full array of their MMA skills.
Photo: Randy Couture celebrates his victory over Tim Sylvia during Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC 68 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH on March 3, 2007. Photo credit: Francis Specker