Tuff Gong -Your a college graduate with a built in fall back plan. I’m curious to know how serious you really are to have MMA as a career; do you train full time now? Is your goal to be a champ in the UFC in the future, or do you just plan on seeing how your pro career goes before going all in?
Ryan - Fighting is what I love to do. I'm 100% committed to having a career in MMA. I have been training full time for quite a while now though I do keep a few hours per week working at the gym for a bit of extra income. My goal is to continue having fun and improving as a fighter and to see how far I can go in this sport.
The Greg - How has being the son of Randy Couture affected your fighting career? Do you consider it a benefit for potentially helping open doors for you, or is it a hindrance because of the added expectations being the son of a legend? Other than your father, who has been the most instrumental in your development as a mixed martial artist? Who else did you look up to and idolize before beginning your career? Niel adds- Do you feel that the attention you've been given has in any way influenced your training?
Ryan - Being Randy's kid has had a huge impact on my career. It has opened many doors for me but has also put me under much closer scrutiny than I would otherwise have been at this point. On the whole, the benefits far outweigh the added pressure. In addition to dad, I've been fortunate to be able to learn from many great fighters and trainers as a part of the team at Xtreme Couture. Having such a talented group of coaches and training partners really motivates me to work hard and improve and puts me in a great position to live up to the heightened expectations that my last name brings with it.
IrishKev - Training out of Xtreme Couture, what kind of coaching do you (and other amateurs just turning pro) actually get? Do you get to train with the bigger names such as the Maynards, Griffins, Dunhams (etc.) or the top coaches like your father for example? Does the relationship with your father provide better training partners for you?
Ryan - Everyone training at Xtreme Couture gets access to the same phenomenal coaching staff that the top pros use. How much one-on-one time a fighter gets with those trainers just depends on what kind of arrangement he is able to make with each individual one. The amateurs that are skilled enough also get the opportunity to participate in pro training sessions and test themselves against guys like Gray, Tyson and Evan.
Ulf Murphy - Can you give us an example of one of your training days?
Ryan - In the morning, I do some combination of strength and conditioning, mitt work and grappling technique, depending on the day. Then I rest up until it's time for the evening pro training session. There, I meet up with the rest of the team for live rounds and hard drilling. Mondays and Fridays, we focus on jits, Wednesdays we wrestle, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are sparring days. Saturday is generally a bit lighter. I do some more grappling technique and then get a few rounds in with the amateur team.
Freedomthrtyfve - You obviously must have an affinity to a certain gym, but as the top gym’s are so closely matched, do you think any gym has a distinct advantage over any other, and why?
Ryan - There are a lot of quality gyms out there with comparable facilities and top notch fighters. What is important is finding one where you get along well with the coaches and training partners in order to maximize what you get out of your training.
*Californication* - Ryan, You are getting into the game, professionally, rather late in comparison to most of the up and comers nowadays. Looking back, do you wish you would have started much earlier?
Ryan - It might have been nice to have gotten an earlier start on training but I'm happy with the path that led me here and wouldn't change it if I could.
Magicmike - You won your last fight by triangle choke, and as you know your father is known for his wrestling and his dirty boxing. Did you find yourself training BJJ more or relying on it more in the cage so you don’t get pigeonholed by promoters and matchmakers as fighting the same way your father does? Thorazine adds - What skill set do you feel the need to improve most on?
Ryan - Becoming a submission oriented fighter wasn't a conscious decision that I made. It just happened to be the thing that came most naturally to me. If I had the wrestling background that dad does, I would most certainly use it. My job is to win fights, not to worry about differentiating myself from my dad. As for the area where I need to improve most, I'd say it's wrestling. The ability to dictate where the fight takes place is incredibly important. With all of the former division one wrestlers in the lightweight division, I've got my work cut out for me.
Freedomthrtyfve - How bad was your staph infection? and as so many fighters suffer from them, do you see any way forward in eradicating the infection from the sport, as it must hit you in the pocket as well as physically? DetroitDrew adds – Considering you’re recent fight cancellation due to an illness related to training, what is your opinion on promotions not providing health insurance for their fighters? Do you feel there is a difference between an injury during the fight (which most promotions cover), and an injury during training which is not covered?
Ryan - My staph infection turned into cellulitis and got pretty bad. It wasn't as ugly as some that I've seen but it has certainly proven to be a nightmare to get rid of. Missing out on five weeks of training and having to pull out of my fight have been huge setbacks and the medical bills are getting pretty steep as well. Unfortunately, I don't think there's any way to completely remove that risk from the sport. Wherever there are people, there are germs and all the close contact in the gym guarantees that they will get where they don't belong sometimes. All we can do is focus on hygiene to limit our risk. As for the concept of promoters providing health insurance, I don't think it would ever work. Costs would be prohibitive and it would be an administrative nightmare with fighters switching promotions so frequently. Something more feasible might be to have a sort of fighters' union that provided that type of benefit similar to the Screen Actors Guild.
The Greg - Who would you most like to fight in the Strikeforce LW division?
Ryan - I've got to get a lot better before I start calling out the top lightweights in Strikeforce but some of my favorites to watch are Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez and JZ Cavalcante. It would be an honor to mix it up with any of those guys some day.
Thorazine - Would you consider doing UFC’s TUF Series?
Ryan - No I wouldn't. The idea of being on a reality show doesn't appeal to me at all. I'd much rather make my name in the sport the old fashioned way.
Yan117 - Have you always been participating in athletics and sports? I would guess you were quickly introduced to gyms and sporting events. If so, were you a very enthusiastic participant as a kid?
Ryan - I was always pretty active growing up. Soccer and wrestling were my two main sports but I gave baseball and basketball a try too.
Thorazine - Would you ever fight someone from Xtreme Couture, and what is your opinion on fighters not wanting to fight other fighters they train with?
Ryan - I'd prefer not to fight a teammate if at all possible but it's not something I'd refuse to do if it was the best way to advance my career.
BNF – How does it feel to know that even as a professional fighter you’re nearly 50 year old father can kick your ass? RolloTomasi adds - ...Or do you feel you can take your old man?
Ryan - I came to terms years ago with the fact that I'd never be able to whip my old man. I just take comfort in the fact that I'll always be smarter and better looking, haha.
I would like to thank Inflict Sports, It Ain't Chemo and Xtreme Couture, also, people can follow me on twitter @RyanDCouture. Thanks!