Couture aging well

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Randy "The Natural" Couture knows full well how old he is.

He's been blowing out candles on birthday cakes since the days the Beatles were touring and come this June, he will do it again for the 47th time.

He doesn't need to be reminded of his age.

But the role model for every middle-aged man with a competitive streak says there's no real secret to his longevity.

In fact, he's not really sure why he's been able to compete well into his 40s.

"There are a lot of variables, I think," says the former UFC heavyweight and light-heavyweight champ.

"I think I've been fortunate to not have any serious injuries that have kept me out and made it difficult for me to train.

"I think that there are probably some genetics involved. My joints hold up a little better than some other guys my age. And some of it's an attitude. I'm not going to give up what I love to do."

Couture says his mental state plays a role in his ability to keep up with men half his age.

"Some people let their age change the way they feel," says Couture who has a 17-10 record. "It gets in their head and they let it hold them back and I've never allowed that to happen."

The elder statesman of MMA says consistency in his approach to fighting has also helped.

"I keep my fitness level high on a regular basis, whether I'm training for a fight or not," he says.

"Other guys tend to go way up or down a lot. They get way out of shape when there's not a fight and then climb back into shape and it seems to me that's when a lot of these injuries occur."

FIGHTING THE HAMMER

For the first time since he took on Mike Van Arsdale in 2005, Couture will be fighting someone close to his age.

In a battle of UFC Hall of Famers, Couture will take on Mark "The Hammer" Coleman in the main event of UFC 109: Relentless on Feb. 6.

Coleman, 45, is also a former UFC heavyweight champ and two were scheduled to fight 13 years ago before an injury sidelined Coleman.

The Vegas card will also feature a middleweight fight between Nate Marquardt and Chael Sonnen and former welterweight champ Matt Serra makes his return to the Octagon against veteran Frank Trigg.

Couture, who has already retired once and returned to claim the heavyweight belt, says he has no idea when he will hang up the gloves and trunks for good and says he really doesn't think about it.

"For me, I found a passion for sports at an early age. And though it's a tough sport and very physical, it doesn't feel like work to me. It's what I enjoy doing," he says.

"I like to think that I'm a pretty rational individual and once my body can't do this anymore, I'll stop. But why would I stop doing something I love when I can still compete?"

UFC 109 will be available in Canada on pay-per-view.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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