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Couture ranks as one of the most influential figures in mixed
martial arts history and remains one of only seven competitors to
Ultimate Fighting Championship gold in multiple weight
A two-time light heavyweight titleholder and three-time heavyweight
champion, Couture first appeared on the MMA stage at UFC 13 on May
30, 1997 and remained a fixture inside the promotion—outside of a
few stops in Rings and Vale Tudo Japan and some well-publicized
run-ins with UFC management—until he decided to hang up his gloves
in 2011. “The Natural” racked up 16 victories inside the
organization and spent more than four hours of actual time
competing inside the Octagon, often against his most accomplished
contemporaries. Couture faced Chuck
Liddell and Vitor
Belfort three times apiece, Pedro Rizzo
twice and Lyoto
Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock
Rodriguez and Josh Barnett
once each, with those encounters accounting for eight of his 11
career defeats. He was the fourth fighter to be granted induction
into the UFC Hall of Fame on June 24, 2006.
Here are some of the numbers that came to define Couture during his
3: All-America selections as a collegiate wrestler
at Oklahoma State University. Couture was an All-American in 1990,
1991 and 1992, reaching the NCAA final on two different occasions.
He finished his career with a 113-42-3 record and still ranks
fourth on the school’s all-time list in total bouts (158).
33: Age at which he made his MMA debut, as Couture
needed a little more than four minutes to subdue two opponents and
win the UFC 13 heavyweight tournament. He submitted Tony Halme with
a rear-naked choke in 56 seconds and put away Steven
Graham with punches in 3:13.
15: Appearances in UFC title fights, tying Couture
with Georges St.
Pierre for the most on the promotion’s all-time list. He was
9-6 in those bouts.
52: Takedowns landed in UFC competition. Couture
executed multiple takedowns in 10 different fights, peaking with a
career-high eight of them in a unanimous decision over Ortiz at UFC
44 on Sept. 26, 2003.
11: Finishes on his resume, accounting for more
than half of his 19 professional victories. However, Couture’s
stoppages were often more attritive in nature, as he secured only
four of them inside the first round.
4: Submission wins to his credit. Though he was
known more for his brutal clinch and suffocating ground-and-pound,
Couture flashed other skills when the situation called for it. He
tapped four opponents during his career: Halme (rear-naked choke),
Coleman (rear-naked choke), Mike Van
Arsdale (anaconda choke) and James Toney
1: Decision Loss on his record. Nogueira was the
only fighter to go the distance with Couture and emerge victorious,
as the former
Pride Fighting Championships titleholder earned a unanimous
decision over “The Natural” in the UFC 102 main event on Aug. 29,
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