Well, Ryan Couture was supposed to be fighting this week. The former Strikeforce and UFC fighter was scheduled to face Nick Gonzalez in a lightweight showdown, but Gonzalez missed weight at Thursday weigh-ins... bysomething like 17 lbs. Needless to say, Couture isn't taking that fight, nor should he. But, prior to the mess that was the breakdown of his bout, he sat down with Bloody Elbow to talk about what it's like to be one of MMA's first legacy fighters; a fighter coming in with the hightened expectations of being the child of an established star. In a sport as young as this one, he's been one of the very first to make his way to the bigger stages.
Of course, to hear him tell it, fighting was never really the plan:
"Actually, before I ever got in the ring, I always thought the opposite of that," said Couture when asked what made him feel fighting was really right for him. "When I started training it was just a fun hobby and a way to stay in shape. I'd always been a fan of the sport and had a competitive streak all my life, playing soccer and wrestling, enjoyed competition and pushing myself in that way. So, once I started to get up to speed and learn how to fight a little bit I decided it was worth giving it a try at the amateur level. I figured it would just be kind of a one-off thing and something I would just try out to satisfy that curiosity. But, the first time I stepped in the cage I was hooked and I just couldn't picture myself doing anything but pursuing it as a career."
With an eye toward a run at the Bellator title and far off visions of being a mainstay in the day-to-day operations of Xtreme Couture, Ryan's career hasn't been unsuccessful. He's put together a 10-3 record, beat some really tough competition. In general, he seems to have carved out a nice niche in a sport that provides very few comfortable roles outside of a few top fighters. As such, he had some good advice for other fighters who might end up following in someone else's footsteps; a future GSP jr. or Andy Silva. His biggest takeaway, make sure you do it for yourself:
"I think, just to know what they're getting into," Couture cautioned, when asked what advice he'd give to others following a successful parent. "There's going to be a lot more eyes on them from a much earlier stage than there would be for someone else. They won't be able to fly under the radar. Everybody's going to have their input, whether it's good or bad, but just ignore all that. If they're pursuing it for the right reasons and really doing it for themselves, then that stuff shouldn't matter, it won't bother them. They should be trying to achieve their own goals and be happy with that. If they're doing it out of some need to achieve the same level of success as that person, whose footsteps they're following, then they're setting themselves up for frustration."
You can follow Ryan Couture on Twitter @RyanDCouture