He's certainly no Montana Fishburne. Thank God for that. Ryan Couture, son of Randy, one of the most famous mixed martial artists in the history of the sport, was willing to take things slowly. While Laurence Fishburne's daughter is going into porn to "accelerate" her rise to stardom, Couture trained hard and stayed under the radar, fighting every four months or so on the amateur level. If there were an amateur level in the late '90s, it's probably the way his father would've gone about things when he was making his transition from amateur wrestler to pro fighter.
The hard work has been put in and Team Couture thinks now's the time for Ryan to make a run at his own pro career. He makes his debut Friday night at Strikeforce Challengers 10 in Arizona. Couture, 27, is up front in answering critics who say no fighter should get a chance to make their pro debut on Showtime.
"I think it's absolutely because of my last name and selling tickets," Couture [told SB Nation Arizona] on Wednesday during a pre-fight workout session.
"It's not like I've paid my dues as a pro and have a solid pro resume to justify putting me on the main card. It's a business thing and the name gets a lot of attention. That's just a fact of life at this point. There are going to be people who are bitter about that and hold that against me but there's nothing I can do about that."
You can't blame Couture if he feels a ton of pressure. After all, his father's a former UFC champ in two divisions and helped build the sport. But the younger Couture is too grounded to get bogged down by his father's legacy. Couture told IFight365.com:
"Being who I am, I feel like I get a lot of extra attention, but the only extra pressure I feel is the kind that I put on myself from trying to perform to the level that I know I can. There are going to be very few people that have the kind of impact on the sport that my dad has, so thinking I will equal that would be unrealistic. So I’m just trying to do everything I can to make sure I perform to the best of my abilities. The rest will take care of itself."
He says being the son of a legend and one of the more solid guys in the sports world can only be viewed as a positive.
"I’d have to be a fool to think coming into this sport that others wouldn’t focus on who my father is. But I accepted that and embrace it. Truly, I couldn’t spend time talking about a better person. I’m pretty sure he would be my favorite fighter even if he wasn’t a blood relative."
Couture manages his father's gym Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. It's also where he trains with lightweights like Tyson Griffin and his father's gurus like grappling coach Neil Melanson and striking coach Tim Lane. During his five amateur fights, he's looked most comfortable on the ground. He's pretty humble about his skills and knows he has long way to go.
"All of my wins have come via submission, so I’d have to go with that. But I feel like I’m pretty dangerous everywhere. My wrestling’s not where it should be yet, so there are a lot of guys that are going to beat me there. But with my submission game and decent striking, I feel like I make up for that."
Couture faces 20-year-old Lucas Stark.