One of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the still young sport of mixed martial arts, Randy Couture, is no longer an active competitor.
His legendary career began at the age of 33 and spanned 14 incredible years, filled with memorable moments and highlights that will forever live on in MMA lore.
His mid-fight spanking of Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz en route to winning the undisputed 205-pound title and shocking the world. His comeback fight from his first retirement against Tim Sylvia, in which he won the heavyweight championship and shocked the world again. "Captain America" made an entire career of overcoming the odds and doing the impossible.
But all great things must come to an end, as even "The Natural" can't win 'em all. The final fight (and loss) of his career came on April 30, 2011, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at UFC 129 in front of the largest audience in the promotion's history -- 55,000 fans.
Lyoto Machida, channeling "The Karate Kid," actually landed the Crane kick shortly into the second round and sent Couture on his merry way via the most definitive -- and shocking -- finish of his entire career.
But that doesn't have the Hall of Famer down. To the contrary, as he tells the Fight Network he's relieved it's all over before elaborating on the kick that sent him down Queer Street.
"I'm kind of relieved it's over. I felt alright (going into the second round). He's just... he's elusive, he's hard to catch up with. The times I got my hands on him, he was very sweaty. He was kind of slippery, he slipped out and I didn't really get a good grip on him. I didn't see the kick at all. It was a lot different setup and... yeah, it just caught me out of nowhere. I did (think it was a punch at first). He, a lot of times, starts a left kick and then follows with a straight punch and I had seen that combination a lot in training. I never seen him do that particular setup, starting with the left kick and finishing with the right kick, anywhere in any of his films. So, it was a different feel."
It seems Couture's notorious attention to detail and meticulous gameplanning were directly responsible for his inability to properly defend himself.
In fairness to the old-timer, the Crane kick is a new wrinkle to the ever-evolving game of "The Dragon." And younger men have been caught by similar kicks in the past (see Belfort, Vitor).
However, it was obvious throughout the fight that Couture was simply one step too slow and always trailing just one punch behind. And you know what that means.
Time to hang 'em up.
But will his decision be final? Have we honestly seen the last of Randy Couture inside the Octagon?