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Randy Couture - "The Natural"

Randy Couture was born on June 22, 1963. Couture began wrestling in junior high and continued throughout high school, during which time he played football as well. From 1982 to 1988, he served in the U.S. Army and then upon discharge went on to become a three time Olympic team alternate. In 2000, he was a semifinalist for the Olympic Trials. He is also a three time National Collegiate Athletic Association D-I All-American as well as a two-time NCAA Division I runner-up.

Today he is most well known as a Greco-Roman wrestler and a professional mixed martial arts fighter. As a UFC Heavyweight Champion, he has earned tremendous recognition as well as titles in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Couture is widely recognized as a clinch-fighter; however, he has also earned recognition in mixed martial arts for what has become known as Ground and Pound. This is a term that refers to a wrestler using his ability by pinning an opponent to the mat, obtaining a top position and then striking the opponent successively. Couture has also developed a variety of other skills including Brazilian-Jiu-Jitsu and Muay thai.

Couture first debuted in the UFC on May 30, 1997 in UFC 13: The Ultimate Force. He fought in the heavyweight tournament at the time and went on to defeat Tony Halme as well as Steven Graham. The next match was an elimination round to bring in the heavyweight title and he was pitted against the Phenom, the young Brazilian, Vitor Belford. Couture managed to score a TKO victory in what turned out to be a stunning upset. This was followed up by Couture's first Heavyweight tile in 1997 through a decision award when matched against Maurice Smith, a kickboxer. Later, Couture was stripped of the title when he and the UFC were not able to come to contractual terms. Couture signed with the RINGS organization after leaving the UFC; although that would prove to be short-term. In 2000, Couture returned to the UFC and recaptured the Heavyweight title later that year from Kevin Randleman.

Couture then moved down a weight class to fight in the light-heavyweight division after suffering two consecutive losses in the heavyweight division to opponents who were larger. He took on the number one contender, Chuck Liddell, in his light-heavyweight debut and won by TKO in the third round. At the ripe age of 40, Couture went up against the five-time defending champion Tito Ortiz in an effort to snag the Undisputed Light-Heavyweight title. He achieved success with a unanimous decision; however, the title would be lost in 2005 when he suffered the first knockout loss of his career. The loss of title occurred in a rematch with Chuck Liddell. Never one to be down for long, Couture staged a comeback in August and then went up against Liddell again in a championship match in February, 2006. Unfortunately he did not succeed and lost once again due to a knockout. Wasting no time, Couture announced his retirement immediately after the match. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on June 24, 2006. Since retiring, Couture has participated in a variety of events, including spots as a regular broadcast commenter on The Fight Network.

Although Couture lived in Corvallis, Oregon throughout much of his professional career, he relocated to Los Vegas in 2005. Couture has four children; two with his first wife, Sharon, and two with his second wife, Kim.
 

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