“I love the training, love the competition, and I still feel like I'm progressing and getting better as a fighter.” Randy Couture
After a successful amateur wrestling career, Randy Couture entered the world of mixed martial arts in May 1997 (at age 33) and has since become a legend. Receiving the nicknames “The Natural” and “Captain America” by making his triumphs appear easy, Couture is a three time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion and a two time UFC light heavyweight champion, making him one of only two fighters to have held a championship title in two different divisions. One of the most popular fighters in MMA (Mixed Marital Arts) history, Couture was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on June 24, 2006. He became the forth inductee after Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.
Couture will return to UFC in August 2009 to fight Antonio Nogueira. It is his first match since he was defeated by Brock Lesnar in November 2008.
“I could retire tomorrow and be pretty satisfied with my career in the UFC. I don't know that I'm out to accomplish a whole lot more.” Randy Couture
Couture is also an actor. He has acted in several films, including “Cradle 2 the Grave” (2003), “Invincible” (2006), “Big Stan” (2007) and “Redbelt” (2008), as well as in the television series “The Unit” and “The King of Queens,” among others. Moviegoers will see him in the upcoming films “Relentless” (2009), “The Expendables” (2010) and “Jax of Heart” (2010).
As for his private life, Couture is the father of 3. He and his third wife, martial artist Kim Couture, have filed for divorce.
Childhood and Family:
Randy Duane Couture was born on June 22, 1963, in Everett, Washington. He became interested in martial arts when he was 10 and emerged as an accomplished wrestler. He won a state championship in his senior year of high school.
Randy has been married three times. He was married to first wife Sharon from 1981 to 1993 and has three children (Ryan, Caden and Aimee) with his second wife, Tricia. He and Tricia divorced in 2005. In October 2006, Randy married professional martial artist Kimberly J. Couture (born on December 18, 1975) and became the stepfather of Oakley, Kim's son from a previous relationship.
Randy and Kim have filed for divorce.
A native of Washington, Randy Couture began wrestling at Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood, Washington. He continued wrestling in Lynnwood High School, where he won a state championship during his senior year. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army and served from 1982 to 1988. During the service, he wrestled for the Army team.
Couture embarked on his amateur wrestling career after leaving the army. An Olympic aspirant, he was chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Wrestling Team in 1988, 1992 and 1996, and became a finalist at the 2000 Olympic Trials. He was also a Pan American Games Champion, a Pan American Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg Champion, and a three time all-American honors in college, including two runner-ups for Oklahoma State University. He was a two time third champ at FILA World Cup Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg, a third winner at the 1998 FILA Test Tournament Greco-Roman Seniors 97 kg, a two time second champ at Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg, and a third and second winner at the Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 97 kg in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Couture also served as an assistant wrestling and strength conditioning coach at Oregon State University, a post he held for six years.
On May 30, 1997, at age 33, Couture made his professional debut with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as part of UFC 13: The Ultimate Force. Fighting in heavyweight tournaments, he quickly stood out by defeating Tony Halme and Steven Graham. At UFC 15, he faced the young Brazilian Vitor “Phenom” Belfort in an elimination bout for the heavyweight title and ended up winning the title. Couture's domination was further verified when he beat kickboxer Maurice Smith in a decision victory and picked up the heavyweight title in December 1997. The title was taken from him when he failed to follow the contractual terms with the UFC and Semaphore Entertainment Group, UFC's parent company at the time.
After leaving UFC, Couture found himself fighting in Vale Tudo Japan 1998 and later in the RINGS King of Kings 2000 tournament. In the latter tournament, he defeated opponents Jeremy Horn (unanimous decision), Ryushi Yanagisawa (majority) and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (unanimous decision) before losing to Valentijn Overeem (Guillotine Choke). Recalling about his fight in Japan, he said, “The tournament format was tough. You could prepare for the guy you’d fight first, but you didn’t know who was coming next. Another thing that made it tough was the fatigue factor, if you had to go the distance your first fight but your opponent had a first round win.”
Couture returned to UFC in November 2000 when he fought Kevin Randleman at UFC 28, where he defeated his opponent in a TKO (total knock out) victory. With the win, he was able to retake the heavyweight title. Couture defended his heavyweight championship twice during 2001, both times against the Brazilian rival Pedro Rizzo. At UFC 36, on March 22, 2002, he surrendered his heavyweight title to Josh Barnett, who defeated him in a second round TKO. Barnett, however, was stripped of his title after he tested positive for anabolic steroids, leaving the heavyweight title empty. At UFC 39, Couture fought Ricco Rodriguez for the title, but he lost in the fifth round.
Following his two consecutive losses in the heavyweight division, Couture moved to the light heavyweight division and made his debut fighting Chuck Liddell at the UFC 43: Meltdown on June 6, 2003. He went on to win the match via TKO in the third round and took home the UFC interim light heavyweight title. In his second straight win, Couture beat another light heavyweight champ, Tito Ortiz, in a unanimous decision victory and became the undisputed light heavyweight champion. At the time, Couture was 40 years old.
In January 2004, Couture lost to longtime contender Vitor Belfort via TKO in the first round, but rebounded in August that same year by defeating his Brazilian opponent in a TKO win in the third round. In April 2005, he was knocked downed by Chuck Liddell in the first round and lost his light heavyweight title. Following a submission win against Mike Van Arsdale at UFC 54 in August 2005, Couture and Liddell met again for a match called “Liddell vs. Couture 3” on February 4, 2006, at UFC 57, where Couture gave up in a second round knockout. Subsequently, he declared his retirement from the sport.
Couture did not return to the professional fighting circuit until March 3, 2007, when he faced Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 68: The Uprising. He won the match in the fifth round via unanimous decision and took his third UFC heavyweight title. He successfully defended his title at UFC 74 in August 2007, where he beat Brazilian contender Gabriel Gonzaga by a TKO in the third round. However, in October that year, he again announced his retirement.
45-year-old Couture made his next comeback on November 15, 2008, at UFC 91 when he faced Brock Lesnar. Couture lost in the second round by TKO. Couture is scheduled to face Antonio Nogueira, the Brazilian contender widely known by fans as the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the heavyweight division, at the UFC 102 that will be held on August 29, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.
Outside the ring, Couture has branched out to the entertainment industry. As an actor, he made his debut in the 2003 film “Cradle 2 the Grave,” directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak and starring Jet Li and DMX. He then appeared with Pamela Anderson and Garey Busey in the martial arts movie “No Rules” (2005), helmed by Gerry Anderson, had an unaccredited part in the direct-to-video “Today You Die” (2005), starring Steven Seagal, and was featured with Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks and Kevin Conway in the biographical film “Invincible” (2006). He also costarred with Rob Schneider (also directed the film), David Carradine and Jennifer Morrison in “Big Stan” (2007), portrayed Dylan Flynn in David Mamet's “Redbelt” (2008) and was cast as the villain in the direct-to-video installment “The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior” (2008). On the small screen, Couture guest starred in the series “The King of Queens” (2006), “Heman Weapon” (2007) and “The Unit” (2 episodes, 2007). He also appeared in the popular reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” (2005-2006) and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” “Rome Is Burning” and “Up Close with Carrie Keagan.”
Couture has also pursued other ventures. He opened training centers in Las Vegas and Vancouver and released his autobiography, “Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage,” in July 2008.
Couture will star as JJ in the upcoming movie “Relentless” (2009), for director Demian Lichtenstein. In addition, he is set to costar with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li in “The Expendables,” an action film which Stallone also wrote and directed. The film will be released on April 23, 2010. In the Mimi Leder-helmed “Jax of Heart” (2010), Couture will work alongside Hayden Christensen, Djimon Hounsou and Criss Angel.
UFC 13 heavyweight tournament winner
Three-time UFC heavyweight champion
Two-time UFC light heavyweight champion
Interim UFC light heavyweight champion
FILA test tournament Greco-Roman Seniors 97 kg - third place, 1998
Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 97 kg - second place, 1998
Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 97 kg - third place, 1997
Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - second place, 1992
FILA World Cup Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - third place, 1992
Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - winner, 1991
Pan American Games Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - winner, 1991
FILA World Cup Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - third place, 1991
Pan American Championship Greco-Roman Seniors 90 kg - second place, 1990