Toronto, Ontario, CAN — Though we’ve all heard Randy Couture call it a career inside the Octagon in the past, the 47-year-old UFC Hall of Famer feels like the time has come to stick to his words.
Not wanting to be forced out of the sport by a prolonged losing streak or a sudden drop-off in his ability to compete at the highest level, Couture announced last week that his fight with Lyoto Machida this weekend would be his swan song. For the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, this event and this fight mark the perfect point to exit the Octagon one last time.
“The thoughts about retiring and making it my last one have been coming on for the last couple fights. Lyoto is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time; it finally came, and it felt like the right time and the right place to call it the end. [Fighting in front of 55,000 fans] is just the icing on the cake.”
Couture is regarded as one of the sport’s great strategists; his signature victories all featured precise game plans in bouts few believed he could win. Now he’ll finally get the chance to do the same against the elusive former light heavyweight champion.
“He has an interesting, complex style. Guys have had trouble with him, and he’s very, very good at what he does. Those are the intriguing and interesting match-ups, and I felt like my style matched up well with his.”
It’s easy to see what piques Couture’s interest in this fight.
He’s made a living getting inside and working from the clinch, while Machida prefers to stay in space and counter, moving backwards with impact more than any other fighter in the sport.
Despite his intentions to walk away from the Octagon after Saturday night, Couture is confident he will be able to remain involved with the UFC after he’s hung up his four-ounce gloves for good.
“I’ll be around the UFC, there’s no doubt about that, I just don’t think I’ll be stepping in the cage and donning the gloves. We’ll definitely discuss options with Zuffa and the UFC, and see if there is a way I fit in there.”