Ryan Couture felt his career was on the line prior to Bellator 180 win
NEW YORK – Ryan Couture believes his victory at Bellator 180 on Saturday night saved his place on the roster and, more importantly, kept his willingness to compete alive.
Couture (11-5 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) defeated Haim Gozali (7-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) by unanimous decision on the Bellator 180 preliminary card, which streamed on MMAjunkie prior to the televised portion of the card on Spike and the Bellator NYC pay-per-view. The victory snapped his two-fight skid and temporarily took him out of jeopardy of being cut.
“Last year was a terrible year,” Couture told reporters following his win. “I was really disappointed, so I was carrying a lot of pressure on my shoulders. It kind of felt like I was fighting for my career tonight. I’m just super happy to get in there and get a good 15 minutes of ring experience in and come out unscathed and get the win.”
Couture said he’s not sure what would’ve happened if he came up short. Although it is possible Bellator would’ve given him another fight, it would be far from guaranteed with three consecutive losses. After fighting in Bellator, UFC and Strikeforce, a return to smaller promotions in the event of being released was not something Couture was interested in.
“I would have had some real thinking to do (if I lost),” Couture said. “At this stage of my career, I’m almost 35, so I think I don’t have too many more competitive years in me physically. To go 0-3 and potentially – I know Bellator is a little more lenient and fighter-friendly and understanding, and I have a good relationship with them, so it’s not necessarily I would’ve been on the chopping block, but it’s always a possibility if you lose a few in a row, and you get on that streak, and you could be out of the job. I’m not sure if I would have had the desire to go back to the regional circuit and grind it out on smaller shows just to work my way back up.”
Couture has spent most of his career in the lightweight division but fought Gozalli in a welterweight bout at Bellator 180. He said he intends to return to his most comfortable weight class for his next fight, which he hopes takes place within the next three months.
“155 is home,” Couture said. “I’ll get back on that grind and get on that weight-cut for the next one.”