Randy Couture showed some guts taking on a scary fighter in his final MMA tilt. It didn’t work out for the 47-year-old legend, but he got to walk out of the Octagon to a huge ovation from the crowd in Toronto and with his head held high. There may never be another fighter like Couture.
Couture took on MMA’s great riddle in karate master Lyoto Machida. For six minutes, Machida confused Couture with his movement and counter-striking, then he pulled off an amazing front kick to put the former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion on his back. Couture was out and referee Yves Lavigne jumped on top to save him at 1:05 of the second at UFC 129.
Machida essentially pulled off the crane kick from "The Karate Kid" and, in doing so, knocked out one of Couture’s teeth.
"I think I had all my teeth the last time we had this discussion," joked Couture with UFC analyst Joe Rogan. "I felt like I was standing still out there. He’s a tremendous athlete."
Couture (19-11, 16-8 UFC) confirmed that he is done. He’s made a pretty successful transition to acting. He was a cast member in Sylvester Stallone’s blockbuster "The Expendables" and is part of the mix when "The Expendables 2" begins filming in September.
His impact on mixed martial arts is beyond description. After a decorated amateur wrestling career, he decided to transition to MMA when it was still very much an outlaw sport back in 1997. He was 34 at the time. During the growth years, Couture was a winner in and out of the Octagon. Along with winning five titles fights at light heavyweight and heavyweight, he did much of the media work necessary to spread the word about the legitimacy of the sport after it was purchased by Zuffa in 2001.
Machida, nearly overcome by emotion, thanked Couture for the opportunity to fight him.
"It was an honor [to fight him]. It was a dream when I was a child, I would like to fight this guy," Machida said. "He is a hero. This is the hero. Thank you so much."
Machida’s amazing boot was the second front-kick knockout in the history of the UFC. The first came less than three months ago at UFC 126 when Machida’s teammate Anderson Silva used a similar move to knock out Vitor Belfort.
Machida’s kick was a variation of what Silva did. He faked a left kick and leapt into a right kick. Couture never saw it coming. After the fight, Machida thanked both his father and Steven Seagal for teaching him the kick. Silva also thanked the movie star following his fight. Seagal, an 80’s and 90’s action film star, has been working with some of the fighters from Blackhouse MMA based in Southern California. Many in and out of the game mocked on Seagal for accepting credit following Silva’s win, maybe the kidding needs to subside.