Ahead of seven-time Strikeforce veteran Ryan Couture’s first UFC fight, much has been made of the tension between UFC boss Dana White and Ryan’s father, Randy Couture. But ultimately, the lightweight fighter doesn’t anticipate any issues.
“I just feel like it got kind of blown out of proportion,” Couture (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “He knew there would be consequences, and now we’re taking them in stride and dealing with them. It’s unfortunate.”
The elder Couture has a long history of conflicts with UFC brass, but his recent decision to partner up with former UFC broadcast partner Spike TV led White to rule Randy ineligible as a cornerman for his son, a condition he expected Ryan to endure if he chose to come to the UFC after Strikeforce closed up shop. The UFC Hall of Famer has been the guiding voice in Ryan’s career thus far, but the younger Couture doesn’t believe it will be an issue on fight night.
“My cornermen always worked as a team, so whoever had the skillset or knowledge that was most relevant to what was going on in the fight is who would do the talking,” Couture said. “If I was in a standup fight, then Tim (Lane) is in there giving me pointers on what I need to adjust as far as the striking game. If we’re on the ground, it’s Neil (Melanson), and if it’s a wrestling issue, then Dad would step up.
“The one thing that was really beneficial about having him there is that his voice is the one that tends to come through, that I can key on the easiest, just because I’ve been listening to it my whole life. But I think I’ll be able to adjust without much trouble, and it’s not going to make a difference on fight night really who’s yelling at the end of the day.”
Couture’s theory will certainly be put to the test next weekend when he meets “The Ultimate Fighter 9? winner Ross Pearson (14-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC on FUEL TV 9, which takes place April 6 at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena.
It’s a booking some fans openly questioned, but Couture said he thinks it was a fair assignment. After all, Couture’s final Strikeforce fight saw him defeat former EliteXC title holder K.J. Noons.
“I was expecting a tough fight,” Couture said. “I just fought a former champion in K.J. Noons, so I certainly wasn’t expecting a step back in competition. Ross is a hell of a tough guy and right about the level of opposition I was expecting. I was mentally prepared for it.
“When they offered the fight, I was excited about it. Especially having fought strikers my last couple of fights, it’s sort of a continuation of the things we’ve been working on in training, so it made sense, and it’s another fun challenge and another puzzle to try and solve.”
Couture will just have one less piece with which to work. Still, he’s ready to put all the dad talk behind. It’s time for a second generation of Couture to enter the cage, and the focus is on fighting.
“Obviously growing up and watching UFC events and looking forward to them like I did and being as big of a fan as I was, it always was there in my mind, that this was sort of the ultimate goal and would be kind of the dream at the end of the day,” Couture said. “I’ve just got to get through this fight first, and then I can start to sort of make plans and depending on how things unfold on fight night, how well I’m able to perform, then we’ll start to adjust the expectations from there.”
For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.