"The Dragon" spoiled Randy Couture's retirement party.
Couture entered his final bout against Lyoto Machida with a mystic aura around him. Everything, from the pre-fight hype to the excellent choice of entrance music ("Lunatic Fringe" by Red Rider) made it seem that Randy could indeed pull off another miracle in his final match.
Machida swiftly ended such foolish thoughts with a second round flying front-kick that would make Mr. Miyagi proud.
From early in the fight, it became apparent that "The Natural" was simply a step (or five) too slow to keep up with the the vaunted Black House striker.
Randy smartly kept his hands up to defend Machida's hooks but every time he threw a punch it was dodged and swiftly countered by "The Dragon."
Couture landed his only significant strike of the night with a left hook about 90 seconds in but from then on, it was all Machida.
The Brazilian shrugged off every clinch and takedown attempt from "Captain America" and even when Couture pinned him against the fence, he easily spun out of trouble.
Just one minute into the second round, Machida found his range, confused Couture with some goofy hand movement and launched into the air with a thunderous right front kick that connected firmly with The UFC Hall of Famer's face, knocking Couture (and one of his teeth) out.
Don't feel too sorry for "The Natural," though. The man has been headlining UFC events for most of his career and he's got a lucrative future in action movies as well as tons of other entrepreneurial enterprises.
Randy gave us some of the sport's finest moments, it'll be a shame to see him go but this bout proves that, finally, Father Time has caught up to him.
Lyoto Machida is no James Toney. In fact, he's now on the fast track to earning a shot at reclaiming his light heavyweight title.
His current predicament is that all the top UFC 205-pounders are booked. Rashad Evans is fighting Phil Davis, Rampage Jackson is set to fight Matt Hamill and Forrest Griffin is giving "Shogun" Rua his rematch in Brazil. Even top prospect Ryan Bader is pointlessly matched up with Tito Ortiz.
Machida will simply have to wait until the division sorts itself out. The only other option is to ask for a match with some of the best Strikeforce light heavyweights like King Mo or Gegard Mousasi.
Who do you think is next for "The Dragon?"