Ryan Couture has been around the sport of MMA most of his life.
The son of UFC Hall of Famer and former two-time division champion Randy Couture, the 33-year-old Ryan knows all about the ins and outs, ups and downs that the sport throws your way.
Now in his sixth year competing as a professional, Couture (10-3) will return to the cage this week at Bellator 143 against Nick Gonzalez. It marks his third appearance for the promotion since signing last year, and has helped spark a new-found love in the fighter.
“I feel like the atmosphere during fight week is so much more positive,” said Couture, during a recent interview with FightLine. “Everybody is having such a good time and is happy to be there. It’s been refreshing.
“I feel right at home. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with everybody there.”
Couture made his pro debut under the watchful eye of Scott Coker for the Strikeforce Challengers series, jumping at the chance to reunite with Coker when the opportunity arose.
In 2013 after Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, Couture joined his father inside the Octagon. He lost to Ross Pearson and was bested by Al Iaquinta later that year, leaving for BattleGrounds MMA in 2014 and scoring back-to-back submission wins over Kyle Sjafiroeddin and Shakir McKillip.
Prior to all that, he went 6-1 in Strikeforce and Strikeforce Challengers, including wins over KJ Noons, Joe Duarte and Conor Heun.
In Gonzalez, Couture knows he will be facing another rock-solid veteran of the sport. The 34-year-old owns a record of 18-12, but has not fought since a 2013 submission loss to Leonard Garcia. He’s also previously shared the cage with Luis Palomino, Josh Thomson, Yves Edwards and Dustin Neace.
“He is a dangerous guy, and if I give him an easy target, I will wish I hadn’t,” Couture said. “He hits hard and can take a lot of punishment. I have to be ready to go 15 minutes and be ready to push through when I can’t get him out of there.
“I’m expecting a good, competitive scrap. He’s been around and fought a lot of tough guys.”