Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ryan Couture: Should We Believe the Hype?

Ryan Couture, is the (in)famous son of UFC/MMA legend and ground breaker, Randy "the Natural" Couture (not that you needed me to tell you.)  Ryan fought last night on "Strikerforce: Challenger Series," to emerge victorious by submission over BJJ fighter Lee Higgins.

While the commentators, promotion, and familial legacy would have us believe that Ryan is the next coming of an MMA Jesus, I can't help but wonder: Should we really believe what we are being told?

With me tonight is a long time associate, "Big D".  Big D is a Las Vegas financial professional, married with children, who still finds time to be an advocate and train in MMA (take that, fat America.)

(For the record, I love my country; we just happen to eat a lot of fast food and not exercise.) 

Is this a true debate?


Rather, this is a meeting of two minds on the same topic.  Feel free to eat it and ask for seconds, or despise it and go to McDonalds (see the previous reference to "fat America.")

Let's get to it:

Question #1:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how improved/ effective would you rate Ryan's striking?

 Big D:  Ryan's stand up looked impressive. He looked calm and smooth. Higgins had absolutely no answer for Couture's striking. Overall I'd give Couture a 8.5. To be fair, I'm comparing him to other pro fighters with a 1-0 record. To try to make a comparison to Anderson Silva, or other elite of elites, would be both annoying and retarded. He will only get better.

Big Bad Bull:  I gotta disagree.  At most, i'd give his striking a "3".  Has he improved? Sure.  But it is easy to look great when you are punching a banana bag, and Higgins just kind of stood there for the majority of the fight.  In the second round Couture came out more aggressive.  On each occasion that Higgins did push forward, Couture backed away, and looked close to crumbling.

Question #2:

How big of a factor do you think having the name "Couture" played in SF's decision to sign Ryan?

Big D:   We all know that no one not named "Couture" doesn't get their first (or even first 5) pro fights on SF. It was a risk, but it paid off. I watched because Couture was fighting, and I can't name anyone else on the card. I think it was a great move.

Big Bad Bull: I'm inclined to agree with Big D.  Couture "Jr.", with an amateur record of 5-1-1, signed with StrikeForce for his first pro fight.  Rather than fighting his way up through "Ring of Fire", "King of the Cage" or "Tachi Palace" (to name a few), "Natural Light" got his baptism into the pro ranks in the number 2 MMA promotion in the world.  Am I utterly surprised?  Of course not.  We are talking about the people that signed Hershel Walker.   Those same people are still trying to push Bobby Lashley vs. Dave "Bautista".

Question #3:

How would you compare Ryan's fighting style to his father's?

Big D:  His fighting style is obviously completely different than his fathers. Randy is all about pushing you up against the cage, breaking your will with knees and dirty boxing, and then GNP'ing you. Ryan wants to be different. He's got good striking, and he still has a good wrestling base. As far as getting out of his father's shadow; ain't happenin'. But he is definitely good enough to make his own name.

Big Bad Bull:  There are certain points here that I will agree with, and some that I won't.  Firstly, as far as his style goes: His appearance is similar, but he looks like a much more timid version of his father.  Think about any fight Randy has been in.  He is incredibly aggressive, and launches himself forward with an otherwordly snarl on his face.  Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, Nogieura, didn't matter.  Randy went to war. Can it be argued that this was only Ryan's second fight?  Sure.  But look back at Randy's first few in MMA.  World of difference.  Honestly, they shouldn't even be compared together (they are different people, after all; show some compassion.)

Question #4:

Considering the difference in experience and accomplishment, is it fair to compare him against his father in any way?

Big D:  You can’t really compare anyone to Randy Couture. Who has done more, and been more influential in the sport of MMA than Randy Couture? That said, Ryan has to live with his last name and everything that comes with it. Good or bad.  Randy is a light heavy weight/ heavy weight, while Ryan is a light weight.  The differences in body composition and fighting style are massive; You almost can't compare  one to the other. He kinda sounds like his father, though. That’s where the similarities stop.

Big Bad Bull:  Once again, kind of inclined to agree.  There is no way to compare the two.  While Ryan may gain his claim to fame by his last name, the differences are staggering.  The sport has changed, the tactics have changed, and (from father to son), people change.  Regardless of his last name, we should see a fighter on the up-and -coming, and critique him thusly.  I guarantee you, no one feels more obligated to the name "Couture" than Ryan.

Question #5:

Overall impression of last nights fight?

Big D:  The fight was a complete destruction of a lesser fighter. At no time in the fight was Couture in any danger. It might be said that Higgins was cherry-picked for Couture. But, if he keeps winning fights like that, he'll have to face some serious talent very soon. And I think he's up to the challenge.

Big Bad Bull: Once again, I only half agree.  Agree:  While proponents of MMA have criticized boxing for padding fighters records, StrikeForce is showing a propensity for the same tactics.  Prime examples are Hershel Walker and Bobby Lashley.  Are we now seeing the same thing for "Natural Light"?  Higgins, woefully unqualified, should not have been in the same cage. Disagree:  I don't think he needs to face true talent any time soon, assuming that StrikeForce wants to maintain its' current standard. From a business perspective, signing Couture was a smart move.  But they now need to nurture it.  If they are looking at the "long haul' for his career and marketability, they need to slow things down and allow him to work his way up, gaining experience along the way.  Is he up to the challenge?  Right now, no.  But given his resources, he could be.

In closing:

How far do I (Big Bad Bull) see him going in the sport?

Debatable.  Here in Vegas, Extreme Couture charges 400.00 a month for classes.  A private class with Randy himself is $10,000.00 per hour. (P.S....FACK YOU.)

Now, something tells me that Ryan might receive a family discount rate.  With this being the case, I feel that Ryan has access to all the tools in the world to become another living legend; it's just a matter of whether he chooses to do what is best for him, or what people expect his fathers' son to do.

In a closing note, Big D has some words of wisdom for all wannabe tough guys (Lee Higgins, in particular):

Big D:  Id like to opine on something of great import to the fight game.

Namely, Tattoos.

 These can be cool, and even intimidating. But, take an otherwise game opponent ( with cauliflower ear and facial scare tissue) and then put a tramp stamp on him.

Enter Lee Higgins.

Dude, what are you thinking? It's distracting, if not disturbing. Higgins should have had a point taken away to start the first round. How is this acceptable?

You should be ashamed of yourself. (BD)

Big Bad Bull:  I'm seriously considering making the next article a battle between Gus Johnson's Lipstick vs. Stephan Quandros' "Skeletor Face".

Think about that.

No comments:

Post a Comment