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Steve Cofield

The old dog learns new tricks: Couture goes back to wrestling school

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

Randy Couture jokes that he's always been the old guy. After a stint in the Army, Couture was a 25-year-old freshman at Oklahoma State. Even now at 46, Couture isn't ashamed to admit that he can always use more schooling. After close to 40 years of wrestling work, he's seen some holes recently in his MMA grappling game. He called in several grappling coaches to get him ready for another great wrestler in Mark Coleman at UFC 109.

Couture, one of the most dominant takedown artists in the history of the sport, had trouble offensively in his last two fights getting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brandon Vera to the ground. He need to get Coleman to the ground to score points and he also knows the 1987 NCAA heavyweight wrestling champ, presents defensive challenges as well.

"The likelyhood that he can take me down is there," Couture said during the UFC 109 workout session. "I've got to be prepared for the worst case scenario, I give up a double-leg in the early rounds. I've got to be able to first of all survive and be effective there."

Coleman is pretty predictable but Couture said that doesn't make it any easier to gameplan.

"Mark's style hasn't changed. He's a strong guy so he's going to be throwing hard punches. He's heavy handed. So I don't want to be standing around to absorb a bunch of that. And the more I stand around the easier I'm to be able to takedown as well."

Couture worked heavily with Neal Melanson and said he's learning new things about grappling everyday. He continued to work on his striking especially on the defensive side. Couture acknowledges that he got hit by "Big Nog's" right hand way too often during his loss at UFC 102.

It's pretty interesting to hear Couture talk enthusiastically about being a student especially considering he's usually the coach, teacher or mentor. He even took time out during his workout session to drill Chael Sonnen on some grappling ideas along with Melanson. Check out the video here.

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