Xtreme Couture – MMA Gym

Year Founded: 2006
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Founder: Randy Couture
Coaches: Eric Nicksick (current), Dennis Davis (current), Kyle Griffin, Ray Sefo (past), Robert Follis (past), Neil Melanson (past), Shawn Tompkins (past), Ron Frazier (past), Gil Martinez (past)
Notable Fighters: Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin, Francis Ngannou, Vitor Belfort, Miesha Tate

The creation of Xtreme Couture

The person behind the creation of Xtreme Couture was the man the gym is named after Randy Couture. Randy was in the middle of his first retirement and was starting his life after fighting.

Couture got the idea to open an MMA gym in Las Vegas, because the city was the fight hub of the world. At the time all of the major UFC events took place there, so a top MMA gym would be perfect there.

The Natural also had prior experience opening and running the highly regarded Team Quest gym in Gresham, Oregon. He had the knowledge and location to open an elite MMA gym.

Xtreme Couture opened its doors in 2006 and the rest is history.

Xtreme Couture’s early success

Within the first year since Xtreme Couture opened its doors, they had an influx of students and fighters. Couture’s idea to open a MMA gym in Las Vegas turned out to be a fantastic idea.

He also helped get his gym recognition by coming out of retirement and winning his fifth UFC title in 2007. A year later, Xtreme Couture would have it’s 2nd UFC champion in Forrest Griffin, who beat Rampage Jackson at UFC 86.

The gym would continue to ride this momentum of success for the next few years. Gaining numerous top fighters would join their stable from top UFC contenders to TUF alumni.

Xtreme Couture’s internal problems

Even though Xtreme Couture started out hot and became one of the best MMA gyms in the world. Even though they were successful early on, they did face many internal problems.

Many of the coaches that were brought in at first would leave the gym for other opportunities. Including Shawn Tompkins, who was one of the main coaches.

Since there really wasn’t a leader to guide the fighters, they had no real direction. There were also no programs for non fighters or kids, which really hurt Couture financially. 

He needed to come up with a plan to save his gym.

Robert Follis becomes Xtreme Coutures new head coach

The person that Randy Couture called to help turn Xtreme Couture around was his old friend Robert Follis. Couture took Follis under his wing during his time at Team Quest and helped him develop his skills.

Follis became the head coach of Team Quest for a number of years and helped keep it a top gym. Randy believed that his friend Ryan was the person to turn Xtreme Couture around.

Once Follis came on as the head coach, he immediately turned the gym around. Not only did he change the culture of the gym, but he added programs for non fighters and kids. Creating more income for the gym rather than just relying on the publicity of fighters training there.

The team became close and would continue being successful at a high level. Follis was also in the corner of Miesha Tate when she won UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

Robert Follis’ sudden death

In 2017, Xtreme Couture and the MMA world were shocked by the sudden death of head coach Robert Follis. He was a beloved figure to all those that knew him from his time at Team Quest to Xtreme Couture.

His death would leave a large hole at the gym and make the future of the team uncertain.

Eric Newsick takes over 

The person that was left to fill Follis’ spot was Eric Nicksick. Eric did not have the pedigree or background of the past coaches/GM, but started his training at the gym’s beginning.

Randy knew that Nicksick loved the gym and had the ability to be a great GM and coach. He already had a connection with many in the gym, so he was able to keep the team together.

Francis Ngannou joins Xtreme Couture

Nicksick’s ability to develop a rapport with fighters was notably apparent when Francis Ngannou joined Xtreme Couture. Ngannou would join the gym after 2 straight losses and was looking to find himself again.

Looking to find his fire again and get another shot at the world title. Francis would develop a good relationship with Nicksick and head coach Dennis Davis, which would bring the monster in Francis back.

From late 2018 to 2020, Ngannou would win 4 fights in a row by vicious 1st round knockouts. Two of which were over former UFC heavyweight champions. 

This would set up a rematch against Stipe Miocic, which Ngannou would also win by knockout to become world champion. The first UFC champion at Xtreme Couture since Miesha Tate submitted Holly Holm.

A new golden age at Xtreme Couture had begun and they had the reigning UFC Heavyweight champion training there. Eric Nicksick would also win MMAJunkie’s coach of the year award.

Xtreme Couture coaches

Xtreme Couture have had some of the best coaches in the world work within the gym. Here is a list of some of the past and present coaches at the gym.

Eric Nicksick

The current GM, coach, and head of the programs is Eric Nicksick. He was given the position after the sudden passing of Robert Follis.

Nicksick was an unlikely person to take the reins at the gym, but he has flourished as the leader. Along with the rest of the top notch staff, he has helped bring Xtreme Couture back to prominence.

Dennis Davis

The other man that has led the gym to its elite level is Dennis Davis. Dennis is a MMA veteran with a pro record of 15-11 and was a protege of Robert Follis.

Like Nicksick, Davis has been at Xtreme Couture first as a fighter and now as a coach. He has a ton of experience and has developed a great relationship with his fighters.

Shawn Tompkins

The late Shawn Tompkins spent a short time as an Xtreme Couture coach in the early days of the gym. He was a highly respected coach that trained some of the best fighters of the era.

Robert Follis

Robert Follis was the Xtreme Couture head coach from the early 2010s to his sudden passing in 2017. During his time as the head coach and head of the gym’s programs, Follis brought new life back into Xtreme Couture.

Not only competitively, but also financially, which saved the gym from possibly closing. Follis was a beloved figure by all that worked with him and is greatly missed.

Neil Melanson

Neil Melanson added Xtreme Couture Jiu Jitsu coach to his impressive coaching resume. Coaching at the gym along with Alliance MMA and the Blackzillians showed that he is one of the worlds best grappling coaches.

Ray Sefo

The K-1 kickboxing legend has worked with Xtreme Couture for over a decade. Before he became the president of the Professional Fighters League, Sefo was Xtreme Couture’s head striking coach.

He has worked with some of the best strikers and has a real eye for seeing and developing talent.

Ron Frazier

One of the early boxing coaches at Xtreme Couture was Ron Frazier. Ron had worked with Couture to prepare for a fight and then was offered a position at the gym.

Frazier worked at Xtreme Couture for a number of years before leaving to start his own personal training business.

Notable fighters

You could do an entire article listing the top fighters who have and currently train at Xtreme Couture. Here are some of the gym’s most notable fighters.

Randy Couture

You can’t talk about Xtreme Couture without mentioning the person it’s named after. Randy Couture is an MMA legend and UFC Hall of Famer.

He is one of the best to ever do it as a fighter, coach, and gym owner. Without him, there wouldn’t be an Xtreme Couture.

Forrest Griffin

The first TUF  winner and UFC Hall of Famer, Forrest Griffin was the 2nd ever UFC champion from Xtreme Couture. He was a fan favorite as a fighter and still trains at the gym from time to time.

Miesha Tate

Miesha Tate was the first UFC women’s champion to train out of Xtreme Couture. She was a long time student of Robert Follis and is now in the middle of her comeback. Looking to get her title back.

Francis Ngannou

The reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion, Francis Ngannou makes his home at Xtreme Couture. Since moving to the gym and working with Nicksick, Ngannou has returned to his dominant form. Winning his last 5 fights by knockout, which includes winning the championship.

Xtreme Couture’s legacy

Since Xtreme Couture opened its doors in 2006, the gym has been immediately successful. Considered one of the world’s best MMA gyms along with Jackson-Wink, American Top Team, and AKA.

The gym has been home to some of the world’s best fighters for over 15 years, including 4 world champions. The gym has had their ups and downs, but they are back on top as one of the best gyms in the world.