Randy Couture – MMA Coach

Randy Couture
DOB: June 22nd, 1963
Place of Birth:U.S. Everett, Washington, U.S.
Nickname: The Natural
Gym: Team Quest(1999-2006), Xtreme Couture
Location: Las Vegas, NevadaLas Vegas, Nevada
Martial Arts Background: Wrestling/MMA
Weight:203 lb (92 kg; 14 st 7 lb)
Height:6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight Class:Heavyweight (1997–2003; 2007–2009; 2010)
Light Heavyweight (2003–2006; 2009–2011)
Martial Arts Record: 19-11
Notable Fighters:Forrest Griffin, Vitor Beltfort, Miesha Tate, Francis Ngannou

Randy Couture’s start in wrestling

Randy “The Natural” Couture grew up in Everett, Washington and grew up wrestling from an early age. He was one of the top wrestlers in the state from the time he started in middle school.

In high school, he would win the state championship. Then from college, he would enlist in the US Army and stay there from 1982-1988.

In the Army, Randy Couture would also take up boxing while he was serving. After going through basic he signed up for freestyle wrestling team, but a clerical error put him in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Even though he never wrestled Greco-Roma style, he still made the team. Then after being discharged in 1988, Randy signed up at Oklahoma State University. Becoming a walk on with their wrestling team.

During his college career wrestling, Randy Couture would nearly make the US Olympic team on 4 different occasions. Also a 3 time All American.

Randy Couture’s early MMA career

Randy Couture would make his MMA debut on UFC 13 on three weeks’ notice as part of a 4 man heavyweight tournament. In his debut, he beat Tony Halme by RNC in a minute of the first round.

Then in his 2nd match he would beat Steven Graham by his patented ground n pound to win the tournament. His next fight would be at UFC 15, 5 months later against Vitor Belfort.

A fight that he would again win by TKO to become the #1 contender for the heavyweight championship. He would face the champion Maurice Smith at UFC Japan and beat him by decision. Earning his first UFC championship.

Although it would be short lived as he would drop the title due to contractual disputes.

Randy Couture helps found Team Quest

Randy Couture’s first time owning and coaching an MMA gym was helping co-found the legendary Team Quest in Gresham, Oregon. He along with UFC legend Dan Henderson opened Team Quest in 1999.

It was one of the earliest MMA gyms in the country with many of their fighters having a base in wrestling. Randy along with Henderson would help train some of the top sports fighters from 1999-2006.

During this time Randy would help train Henderson for his fights along with Matt Lindland, Chael Sonnen, and Nate Quarry. 

Randy Couture wins the UFC Heavyweight Title

After Couture and the UFC made amends with their contract dispute, he would make his return. Fighting for the heavyweight title again against Kevin Randleman. Winning the title in the 3rd round by ground and pound.

He would defend the title twice against Pedro Rizzo after losing to Valentijn Overeem at the Rings promotion in Japan.

The natural would then drop two straight UFC fights. Losing his title to Josh Barnett and again to Ricco Rodriguez.(Josh Barnett was stripped after a positive drug test.)

Randy Couture’s move to light heavyweight

Randy Couture would move to the light heavyweight division after his two losses. Facing Chuck Liddell for the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

He would dominate the iceman in his light heavyweight debut and win the interim title by ground and pound. In his next match, Couture would become the undisputed champion by beating Tito Ortiz.

Randy would then have his 2nd and 3rd fight against Vitor Belfort. Losing his title due to a cut in the first and getting his title back by doctor stoppage in the 3rd round.

Randy Couture coaches on TUF 1

The natural was the very first coach on the Ultimate Fighter. Members of his team consisted of Stephan Bonnar, Kenny Florian, Chris Leben, Nate Quarry, and Mike Swick.

Of his team, Bonnar, and Florian would make it to the finals of the competition. Both losing the finals.

In the pay per view after the finals, Couture would lose by KO and lose his title. After losing the third fight with Liddell, Couture would retire from MMA for the first time.

Randy Couture opens Xtreme Couture

In 2006, Randy Couture would open his own MMA gym, Xtreme Couture. One of the first state of the art MMA gyms to ever be built in the heart of Las Vegas.

This was the perfect place for Randy to put his gym since the UFC held most of their events in Vegas. Couture would hire some of the world’s best MMA trainers to oversee his gym. He would also have a hand in training some of the gym’s top fighters.

The gym has had its ups and downs, but it is still one of the best MMA gyms in the world.

Randy Couture’s comeback

Randy Couture would only stay retired for a year before coming back to fight at heavyweight. He would face the champion Tim Sylvia and shock the world with a dominant decision win. Earning his 4th UFC title.

The natural would defend his title one time against Gabriel Gonzaga before losing it to Brock Lesnar. Then after losing to Minotauro, he would return to the light heavyweight division.

Going 3-1 and then retired again in 2011 after losing to Lyoto Machida.

Notable fighters

Randy has had a hand in helping some of the best fighters in the world become champions. Here are some of the most notable fighters that have trained at his gym.

Forrest Griffin

Forrest Griffin was on team Liddell during the TUF 1 season, but ended training with Couture at Xtreme Couture. Before getting on The Ultimate Fighter, Griffin went 9-2 on smaller MMA promotions.

Then he would earn his way onto the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He would reach the finals and have an epic fight with Stephan Bonnar. Winning the first Ultimate Fighter tournament.

He would join Randy at Xtreme Couture when it opened in 2006 and stayed there throughout his career. In his time with the gym, Graffiti would go 7-4 in 6 years. 

The high point was winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Rampage Jackson at UFC 86.

Vitor Belfort

Once rivals, Vitor Belfort would become a member of Randy’s gym. Belfort joined Xtreme Couture in 2008 and it helped lead to a resurgence in his career.

After 2 KO wins, Belfort would have his third tour with the UFC. In his 3rd run, Belfort would go 8-6 and 1 no contest before being released from the promotion. During this run, he nearly won two world titles during this time and is now looking to make a comeback.

Miesha Tate

The best female fighter to ever fight out of Xtreme Couture is Miesha Tate. Before getting into MMA, Tate was an amateur wrestler in the state of Washington.

This wrestling and Washington connection would make the transition to MMA easy for Tate. She would travel to Xtreme Couture and begin her MMA training.

She would go 8-2 in her first 10 bouts before fighting for the promotion Strikeforce. Tate would win her first 4 fights in the promotion with the 4th won earning the bantamweight championship.

Then she would go 1-3 in her next 4 fights with 2 being her first fights in the UFC. Miesha would then win 4 straight to earn a title shot against Holly Holm

In the fight, Tate was a heavy underdog, but would put Holm to sleep in the 5th with an RNC. Cupcake would lose the title to Amanda Nunes and then another to Raquel Pennington before retiring for 5 years.

Tate would make her comeback in 2021, beating Marion Reneau by TKO.

Francis Ngannou

The latest member of Xtreme Couture is the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou. Before he began training at Randy Couture’s gym, Ngannou was already the most feared fighter in the UFC.

Going 11-3 with all of his wins by KO or submission. When Ngannou came to Xtreme Couture, he was on a three fight skid and needed to find himself again.

Once he began training with Xtreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick helped turn his career around. Since then, Francis the KO artist has returned with 5 straight knockouts. All of which came in the first or second round.

The last win would be avenging a loss to Stipe Miocic by KO to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Randy Couture’s legacy

Randy “The Natural” Couture is one of the greatest UFC fighters that have ever lived. Winning 4 UFC titles and earning his rightful place in the UFC Hall of Fame.

Then on top of being an accomplished MMA fighter, Randy Couture is also an accomplished MMA coach. Having founded elite MMA gyms in Team Quest and Xtreme Couture.

Couture’s gym has been open for 15 years and is constantly one of the best gyms in the world.