Ryan Couture was crushed to have a scheduled fight postponed this past summer, right before he was set to leave for fight week. The lightweight's disappointment at losing his scheduled Battlegrounds bout was tempered the next day, however, when it was announced that his former boss at Strikeforce, Scott Coker, was taking over at Bellator.
The son of MMA legend Randy Couture, hoped that Coker's arrival in Bellator might lead to opportunities for himself in the promotion, and he ended up being right. This Friday, Couture will make his Bellator debut against Tom Bagnasco*, in Plymouth Township, MI.
"The day after I found out Battlegrounds was postponed, was the day they announced Scott Coker was taking over Bellator and that there would be changes in Bellator," Couture remembers, while talking with Cagewriter this week.
"I was pretty disappointed to have a fight fall out from under me, but I think it happened for a reason. Scott and I always had a great working relationship in Strikeforce, and I'm hoping we can pick that right back up.
Couture was not just happy that Bellator expressed interest in bringing him onto their roster, he was also glad that Coker decided to do away with the tournament structure. "I wasn't crazy about the tournament structure," he admits.
"The grind and wear and tear guys I know who did it had to go through would not have been optimal. With the tournament structure, it's not something I would have been eagerly seeking out, but at the same time, if it would have been the best opportunity for me, I would not have said 'no.'"
Couture doesn't have to worry about being a part of a tournament. He just has had to prepare for one man, .
And the 155 pounder is confident that he's improved a lot since his two-fight UFC stint in 2013, and that he'll be able to continue his current win streak. "I made some important adjustments, and got to focusing on what I'm best at," he says.
"I got to focusing on where I'm best and getting fights to those situations. Of course, you're always fine-tuning and adding new tricks, too."
Couture has a lot more than fighting going on his life, these days, however. This fall he'll get married, and has had to mix wedding preparations with a fight camp.
The 32 year-old's domestic bliss has not distracted from his focus on fighting, however. In fact, he says that starting a family has made him more hungry for success in the cage than ever before.
"Thinking about starting a family makes me more focused on making the right steps and decisions," he says.
"The stakes are higher now. In the past, I was doing what I love and happened to get some money and that as great but it was just me that I was looking out for. Now, my whole outlook has changed drastically through this process. My hunger and desire to compete is just as high as it was before, if not more. I still love to fight, I'm just thinking a little more like an adult, now."
*After the initial publication of this story, Couture's originally scheduled opponent, John Schulz, was removed from the card due to unspecified health concerns, and replaced by Bagnasco.