Randy Couture’s MMA Masterclass

‘The Natural’ reveals to us his tricks of the trade

23 May 2012    |    0 Comments

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Image courtesy of: Fighting Fit

No-one has accomplished more in mixed martial arts than Randy Couture.

A now-retired veteran of the sport, ‘The Natural’ made his MMA debut at UFC 13 in 1997 and went on to become a five time UFC champion in two different weight classes and defeated 19 opponents in his 30 fight career, including Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort (x2), Pedro Rizzo (x2) and former IBF titleholder James Toney. Couture’s run inside the Octagon spanned three decades, and with such longevity comes a level of experience and expertise not many combat athletes possess.

In early 2012, Fighting Fit editor Paul Beasley interviewed the MMA legend on how to overcome adversity in the sport, how to achieve success in the long run, and the key to defeating light heavyweight champ Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.

Be prepared to take Calculated Risks
For the first Chuck Liddell fight [UFC 43, 6 June 2003], I analysed the footage, saw the risks and realised I was going to have to make friends with some of those risks. There was a chance he was going to land a punch and knock me out. But I was at a particular stage in my life. I’d lost my last two fights and I’d be out of contract so I said, ‘To hell with it’. If that’s what happens then that’s what was supposed to happen. I wasn’t going to give him the respect that everyone else was and give him that distance and that range because that’s a surefire way to let him land that punch [Liddell was famous for his overhand right]. I figured I needed to get into the pocket, step in and hit him first. That was the biggest thing. Being out of range then stepping into range – that’s where bad things can happen. I worked hard on corralling him against the cage and the strategy paid off. He was off balance for the whole fight.

Don’t Overreact to a Loss
There’s always a psychological hurdle depending on how you lost. You review the fight, look at the mistakes you made and try to correct those so you don’t make that mistake again. You can take that too far sometimes. That coupled with perhaps doubts and questions about your abilities and not having enough time to develop the muscle memory you need to go out and implement and execute these new things you feel you need to do.

Check your Ego in at the Door
The biggest thing we preach at Xtreme Couture gym is to check your ego in at the door. That’s the first thing that’s going to get in the way of learning new things and putting yourself in new situations where you can learn new skills. Be with a group of guys who aren’t looking to exploit their superiority in those areas. They’re still looking to kick you, punch you, take you down, but they aren’t looking to hurt you. Put yourself out there. You can see with athletes who have accolades in other sports and think they can achieve something similar in MMA that it’s harder for them to put themselves out there in another sport and get their ass kicked. Their learning curve will be much flatter than a guy who goes in there and doesn’t care, picks things up and gets on with it.

Wrestle a Win from Jones
Jon Jones is a very dynamic, long, rangy fighter. He’s the new prototype at 205lbs. He has a wrestling background, and striking to go with that – and now he’s got some submissions as well, so he’s going to be tough to beat. The Chael Sonnen strategy against Anderson Silva – I think that’s the blueprint for fighting Jon Jones, because both Anderson and Jon hit you with these crazy shots. The difference between Anderson and Jon is that Jon has some wrestling ability so it will be harder to wade through that than it would be against Anderson and take him down. So it’ll be a guy like Chael or Dan [Henderson] who has that extra Greco experience. Jon is still pretty good at this style of wrestling but not as good as Chael or Dan so they could potentially be the ones to go out and implement that game plan – but it’s not going to be easy.

For more on Randy Couture, get yourself the March 2012 issue of Fighting Fit. To purchase online, please click here.

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Fighting Fit is published by Newsquest Specialist Media, the world’s leading combat sport publisher. Other titles include Boxing News, The Boxing News Annual and The Boxing News Health & Fitness Series

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