By Elias Cepeda
Ryan Couture was on a roll. The lightweight had won four straight fights against progressively stiff competition in Strikeforce, earning a shot inside the UFC.
His first test inside the Octagon would be a tough one – Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson last April. Many speculated that the son of MMA legend Randy Couture would be in over his head but the younger Couture actually came out and fought effectively against Pearson.
For one round, that is. Couture managed to stay safe, close the distance and take away Pearson’s striking weapons with a conservative but winning clinch strategy in the opening stanza, but in the second round the Brit connected with a big shot and stopped Ryan.
“We started out well,” Couture tells CagePotato.
“We had a good game plan and it worked in the first round but then he caught me in the second. He did what he needed to do.”
Couture says that cornering his father in past UFC fights helped him get his bearing a little bit but that fighting in the world’s top MMA promotion himself definitely felt different. “Totally different,” he admits.
“I was lucky to have my dad bring me into his corners a couple times so that I got sort of used to the scenery and environment but it’s a different thing when you’re the one whose hands are getting wrapped, when you’re the one in the co-main event. It’s hard to explain. Plus, I had a different corner than usual. My grappling coach wasn’t able to be there and he’s a big part of my process and success.”
The disappointment of losing aside, Couture says that his first UFC bout showed him that he does indeed belong in the organization. “I definitely proved to myself that I belong in the cage with someone like Ross Pearson,” he says.
“I look forward to this next fight and proving it to everyone else as well.”
Couture left his Las Vegas home and training camp earlier this week and headed to Milwuakee to prepare for his next bout, against TUF finalist Al Iaquinta this Saturday at UFC 164. “Al is another guy that is going to try and take my head off, even though he has good wrestling as well,” Couture believes.
“I’ve had a good camp and will have my grappling coach with me and we are confident.”
Couture won’t have his dad Randy, however, who is still banned from cornering his son based on an ultimatum that UFC President Dana White gave Ryan upon offering him a home in the UFC after the promotion absorbed Strikeforce. “[Not having my dad allowed in my corner] definitely puts me at a disadvantage,” the 31-year-old says.
“His is the voice I’ve been listening for my whole life and he is a very big part of my career so it is hard. But I’m here to fight and prove myself in the UFC so we go on and do what we have to no matter what.”
Couture believes that he’ll pick up his first UFC win on Saturday and says it is no secret as to how he’ll do it. “I don’t think there’s mystery about what we’ll try to do,” he says.
“I’m most comfortable and effective in the clinch and on the ground so that’s where I’ve got to get the fight. Once I do, I think I can get it done.”