MMA Fix is back with another installment of our new 10 QUESTIONS feature which gives MMA fighters the opportunity to answer questions in their own written and unedited words. Strikeforce Lightweight, Ryan Couture responds about his dad’s (Randy Couture) recent bout against James Toney, his Pro-MMA debut win, and sheds insight into the sex life of a single fighter just starting out.
1. Congratulations on your Pro-MMA debut win in Strikeforce Challengers against Lucas Stark. The win was rather quick (triangle choke at 1:15 into Round 1). Was Stark a viable opponent for your first time out in the pros? How was your first taste of pro-victory?
RC: Thanks, I’m very happy to have my first professional win under my belt. I think Lucas was exactly the kind of opponent that I needed in my debut. He’s a confident, aggressive guy who wasn’t afraid to get in there and fight. Winning quickly and decisively answered a lot of questions for me and for Strikeforce about how I would handle the added attention and pressure that comes with competing on such a big stage. Going forward, I expect the level of opposition to increase continually. I look forward to that challenge.
2. Your next fight is scheduled for November 19th in Memphis with Strikeforce. Why the decision to go with Strikeforce? Did you get offers from other promotions including UFC? How long is your Strikeforce contract?
RC: I got offers from a number of promoters of varying sizes across the country. In the end, Strikeforce, particularly the Challengers events, provided the best combination of exposure, level of competition and compensation. There is a lot of room to grow with the company and work my way up to their higher profile cards as I establish myself as a professional fighter.
3. Who helps you make your career decisions? Do you have a manager?
RC: I’m working with the newly formed Xtreme Couture Management, a company my father and his manager, Sam Spira, started. So far I’m very pleased with the course we’ve plotted for my career.
4. How much unsolicited advice did you get when making your decision to go pro?
RC: Hanging around a gym full of pro fighters and coaches, I heard opinions on when I should turn pro from just about everyone. In the end, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to see from myself in order to feel ready to make that transition.
5. You’re in the beginning of your Pro-MMA career but have you picked up any superstitions or rituals you follow? For instance, do you hail mary or practice the no sex before a fight rule?
RC: I definitely don’t hail Mary and am in no position to be turning down sex but I do like to go record shopping on fight day just to keep my mind occupied and deal with the nerves.
6. You were in your father’s corner for his recent bout against James Toney. What was your primary role in his corner?
RC: I’ve been in his corner for his past three fights now and have come to the realization that I’m mostly just there for moral support. He has a fantastic team of coaches that get him ready and handle in-fight tactics for him. I think having me there just sort of helps keep him calm and keep the mood light.
7. Did Randy Couture’s win settle the debate of MMA Vs. Boxing? As a proud fighter and not as a proud son, what does Randy Couture’s win over a boxer who talked so much trash about the MMA sport mean?
RC: In my mind there never really was a debate in the first place. They are two different sports that are both successful independent of one another. I happen to be a fan of both but some prefer one or the other. The people who debate which sport is better just like to argue and will continue to do so regardless of how many boxer vs mixed martial artist fights promoters line up. As for dad’s win over Toney, I think it went exactly how it should have given the style match up and the rules under which it was contested. A boxing match between the two would be equally decisive in James’ favor and equally unsurprising in that regard.
8. Take us through a typical night of being out and getting recognized by fans. Do they want to challenge you or buy you shots? How often are you recognized now as opposed to just one year ago? What surprises you the most about fan recognition?
RC: On a typical night out I don’t get recognized by fans, thankfully. On those occasions where someone does know who I am, they are generally very friendly and congratulatory. The fact that anyone recognizes me at all is still very surprising to me and will take some getting used to.
9. Do you ever look at your old man and think, “my jiu jitsu’s looking better than his” and want to just take him on for the hell of it? No? Not even when you’re piss drunk?
RC: My Jiu-Jitsu is very different from his and can be prettier at times but there’s no question that he’s the more effective grappler. I’m definitely always game to take him on in a submission match or sparring session. Win or lose (but probably lose), it’s always going to be a good experience.
10. You are just starting out in your pro-career, but what question are you already sick of being asked and what question do you wish you would be asked, and while you’re asking yourself that question, go ahead and answer it, as well…
RC: I’m not sure that there’s a question that I’m sick of but the one that I can’t seem to come up with a good answer for is, “What is the best piece of advice your dad has given you about your fight career?” I hereby officially give up on that one so if everyone out there could quit asking, that would be great. As for a question that I’d like to be asked, I suppose, “What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” would be fun. My response, of course, would be, “What do you mean? An African or a European swallow?”. (If there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t get that joke, I highly recommend adding Monty Python and the Holy Grail to your Netflix queue.)