Despite his three-fight win streak in the UFC, including victories over fellow former champ Mark Coleman and boxer James Toney in 2010, Couture said he doesn't see another title shot in his future.
"I think that realistically the end of me making runs at the title was a while ago," said Couture. "I've had a great year. I've had some great fights. Not too many of them really put me in line to be a number one contender or make a run at the title. To be honest, I just don't see myself doing that at this stage in my career."
Not that he's necessarily declaring his retirement from the sport altogether, Couture was quick to add. Having tried that once before, "The Natural" said he wouldn't rule anything out when it comes to his athletic future. Still, having already cemented himself as a legend of the sport with a decorated career in the UFC, Couture said he doesn't feel as if he has anything left to prove in the cage.
"I've had my battles. I've had my wars. I think there are a lot of guys out there who are hungry and out there and ready for those kinds of wars. I'm kind of in transition and still enjoying competing at a high level, but I think I'm going to definitely focus on making some more movies and heading in that direction."
In addition to his role alongside Bruce Willis in the upcoming action film "Setup," Couture also said he hopes to be cast in the sequel to "The Expendables," with filming set to begin in March. Such a busy schedule doesn't leave much time for training and fighting, he said, even though he said he feels that "style-wise" he matches up relatively well with UFC light heavyweights like Lyoto Machida or even 205-pound champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
"I think some of it boils down to what I really want to do," Couture said. "I'm trying to make smart decisions. I have all this other stuff going on, and timing is everything. The timing seems right for me to look at those things and to be rational and to really look down the road."
Couture added that he might consider another fight if the UFC were to offer him something "interesting," but estimated that there was about a "60 to 70 percent chance" that he wouldn't fight at all in 2011.
"I've had very candid discussions with [UFC president] Dana [White] about where I'm at and what I'm focused on," Couture said. "I think he understands. I think he gets the timing of it and I think he gets where I'm at and where I'm coming from. He's been very supportive. That doesn't mean he doesn't have his own ideas about what he'd like me to do, but I think he's been very understanding."
And if it happens that his first-round submission of Toney in what was essentially a novelty bout at UFC 118 in August was the last time he ever fights professionally, Couture said, he can live with that.
"If that's the way it goes, I'm absolutely happy. I've been having a blast. It was amazing, this last twelve months and fighting four times from August to August was incredible. Some of those fights were very memorable and they were a lot of fun to train for. So, if [Toney] was the last one, then I'm absolutely okay with that."