[SinglePic not found]Strikeforce lightweight fighter Ryan Couture told MMA Fight Corner on Saturday that he thinks he could be a few fights away from a title shot. His split decision win over Joe Duarte on Strikeforce’s Rockhold vs Kennedy card on July 14th was a huge step up for him that even got him a seat at the Strikeforce post-fight presser for the first time.
Couture said he felt like he started off slow against Duarte, but managed to find his rhythm and take home the victory. “I had a little bit of a close start, I sorta caught my groove in the second and then definitely had to gut it out in the third,” he said. “I think both Joe and I got real tired and I was just able to push through a little more than he was at the end and sealed the fight in the last couple of minutes.”
While some who watched the fight didn’t see the win as a split decision, but rather as a unanimous decision in favor of Couture, Couture said he initially though the spilt decision was the right call, until he reviewed the fight. “I wasn’t surprised at the time to hear them announce the split, but watching the tape, I think I clearly did enough to win rounds two and three.”
The turn around Couture had in the later rounds was ultimately what sealed the victory and he credited having the right people in his corner for the win. “My dad, Neil and Tim in my corner did a real good job of letting me know I needed to change a couple things, and get a little more aggressive, and look for those takedowns a little harder, and they got me in the right frame of mind heading out in the second, and I came out fired up and made the adjustments I needed. It’s kind of like that, when it’s really important to have a corner that you trust and that knows how to talk to you to get you to make those changes that need to be made.”
As for what’s next for Couture, he’s hoping he gets to fight again on the next Strikeforce card that’s currently rumored to take place in Sacramento, CA on September 29th. “I’ll be talking to my manager this week. It sounds like there’s some potential for me to get on that September show they announced. But nothing’s set yet…There’s an outside chance I could be fighting in September. If not, hopefully soon after that.”
While he does want to get another fight as soon as possible, Ryan isn’t jumping the gun on getting an opportunity at a title shot. ”I think I’m still quite a ways away from being ready for one. Hopefully, Strikeforce sees it the same way. I think I’d like to grow and learn and develop a lot more before I get thrown into a title shot. I would say at the very minimum three more fights before it’d even make any sense to start talking about that. Ideally, I’d like to be more experienced before I get into the deep waters of the division.”
Still training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Ryan credited his trainer, former pro boxer and kickboxer, Tim Lane for helping him make big strides in his stand-up. “I’ve been working with Tim Lane now for all my pro fights. I feel like we make a little bit of progress each time out and I think it’s really starting to come together. I think especially defensively. I think one of the things that sold me on him as coach was one of the first things he said when we first started working together was ‘Don’t get hit.’”
Now that’s he getting more comfortable in his stand-up game, Ryan’s ready to take it to the next level. “I think now it’s time that we start focusing a little more on my attack,” he said. ”I think I have a tendency to just throw just one or two strikes, and I think it’d be good for me to start working on combination punching and being a little more aggressive. But definitely having that foundation of defense and footwork has been a big thing that we focused on that I’m really happy with our progress.”
With the excitement of his win and the great fight card that Strikeforce put on, Couture said there’s only one thing that could have been better about it. Like middleweight competitor Time Kennedy expressed, Ryan too had hoped more media would have given the event the hype it deserved.
“I think for this show in particular it was bummer because I think it was one of the best cards that they’ve put together in awhile. It was absolutely stacked from top to bottom and the fights delivered. There was a lot of good fights in the show. But I understand, it was the weekend after the biggest fight the UFC’s had in a long time and also a midweek show and that threw off a lot of press. It was kind of unfortunate timing for us that we were surrounded by so many other high profile events that we kind of got lost in the shuffle. So, I get it from that perspective, but it is at the same time still pretty frustrating because were all working hard and to have a quality event with so many talented fighters get overlooked, is definitely a disappointment.”