Issue 206

June 2024

Randy Couture shocked the MMA world by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in two weight classes. The 39-year-old Couture, making his light heavyweight debut after years of competing at heavyweight, faced the formidable Chuck Liddell at UFC 43. The odds were stacked against him. Couture was coming off back-to-back TKO losses, and Liddell, riding a ten-fight win streak, was known for his knockout power and ability to neutralize wrestlers.

The bout seemed designed to elevate Liddell as the UFC's next big star. His knockout power and exciting style had already made him a fan favorite. However, June 6, 2003, would not be his night. The seasoned wrestler Couture executed a flawless game plan, taking Liddell down and controlling the fight with his superior grappling.

Liddell, who had made a career out of avoiding takedowns and popping back up when grounded, met his match in Couture. The relentless pressure and ground control of Couture nullified Liddell's striking. By the third round, Couture secured a decisive takedown, moved to mount, and unleashed a barrage of strikes that forced the referee to stop the fight.

This victory crowned Couture as the interim light heavyweight champion and cemented his legacy as a pioneer in the sport. His ability to drop a weight class and dominate a feared striker like Liddell showcased his versatility and resilience. Couture’s triumph at UFC 43 remains a defining moment, symbolizing the unpredictable nature of MMA and the emergence of a true legend.

Date: June 6, 2003

Location: UFC 43, Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada