Couture says he’ll retire after UFC 129

Randy Couture, who holds the UFC record with five championship reigns in two different weight classes, said Tuesday that he would be hanging up the gloves after his April 30 battle with Lyoto Machida at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

“You know, win, lose or draw doesn’t really factor into the equation,” Couture said at a press conference. “It’s about where I am in my life. I’ve been dong this a long time. As long as I have a good performance, I’ll be satisfied, happy, it’ll feel good.”

Randy Couture wants to leave the sport on top of his game.
(Getty Images)

Couture, who turns 48 in two months, said he feels like he can still compete at the championship level but felt he wanted to leave still healthy and on his own terms. He noted that he expected UFC to call him up after the fight and try and offer him more fights.

Couture (19-10) had won three championships, two as a light heavyweight and one as a heavyweight, after his 40th birthday. Given the ever-increasing talent pool in mixed martial arts, that record may never be broken.

In all, despite being a small heavyweight and fighting usually between 220-230 pounds, he held the heavyweight title three times spanning a period from 1997 through 2008, and held the light heavyweight title twice.

Couture hinted after his win over former boxing champion James Toney last summer that it could be his last fight, but joked, because he had retired after a 2006 loss to Chuck Liddell, that nobody would believe him. He noted he turned down several fight offers but accepted a fight with Machida because it was an opponent he felt like he wanted to test himself against.

“I think these are different circumstances,” Couture said about his previous retirement attempt. “I went through an awful divorce. A lot of things stacked up. I needed a break to get the dust settled. Then I needed to get back to training. There are a lot of different circumstances.

“Now, my life is going fantastic. I’m coming off three victories. It’s the right time for me to leave with my head up, and go out with this competition. It’s my 30th fight in 14 years. It’s time to focus on other things in my life and enjoy my life.”

Couture is considered one of the most popular fighters in its history along with fighters like Liddell and Matt Hughes, who were the original superstars of the sport when it hit television in 2005,.

He noted he has two movie projects coming up, one called “Highjack” that starts filming in May, as well as reprising his biggest career acting role thus far as “Toll Road” in “The Expendables II,” which is scheduled to begin filming on Aug. 22.

“There’s no real reason [why I made the announcement now],” Couture said. “Somebody asked me and I answered the question honestly, and I think once the cat’s out of the bag, it’s out of the bag.”

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Dave Meltzer covers mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Send Dave a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Apr 19, 2011