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Ryan Couture would be 'pretty surprised' if his father came out of retirement for one last fight

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Those hoping that Randy Couture will come out of retirement to fight Fedor Emelianenko on New Year's Eve will probably be let down. At least according to Couture's son.

Ryan Couture doesn't think his father getting in the cage again is in the cards.

"I'd be pretty surprised if he decided to do that," Ryan Couture said. "I don't doubt that he's capable of it, but I just don't know that he has the desire to."

It was announced at Bellator: Dynamite 1 on Saturday night that Emelianenko would be coming out of retirement to fight in Japan on New Year's Eve for a promotion run by former PRIDE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara. The event will air in the United States on Spike TV. Randy Couture was in attendance at Dynamite and even did a mock staredown with Emelianenko at media day last week in San Jose.

The photo op got things buzzing that maybe that highly anticipated fight between Emelianenko and Randy Couture, two of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, would finally come to fruition.

Ryan Couture, though, doesn't think it'll happen. He thought the closest his dad would come to the cage is when he cornered him with coach Robert Follis on Friday at Bellator 143 against Nick Gonzalez. However, Gonzalez weighed in for the lightweight fight at a ludicrous 172.5 pounds -- 16.5 over the limit -- and the bout was scrapped.

Ryan said that his father has been in their Las Vegas gym, Xtreme Couture, a good amount lately, but his time at home is sporadic because of tons of other commitments with movies and the like.

"It's hit or miss," Ryan said. "He'll go in spurts where he's got tons of appearances and acting gigs and different stuff going on that keeps him out of town. But lately he's been good. There's been more weeks than not that he's been in town. He's been getting his conditioning workouts in and watching workouts and hanging out."

Randy Couture, one of only two men to hold UFC belts at two different weight classes, has been instrumental in Ryan's development, even though he has been somewhat hands off. Ryan (10-3) has now patterned his game off of his father when he shied away from doing that in the past given their size difference. Randy competed at heavyweight and light heavyweight; Ryan is a lightweight.

"He's always been a great resource and had a lot of great input for me and helped me develop some of the skills that are my go-to tools now," Ryan Couture said. "With that crazy schedule he keeps, unfortunately I haven't been able to put in as much time actually training with him directly, but the blueprint he laid out in certain areas of the game -- a lot of my clinch work and the approach I've taken in the last few fights -- is sort of modeled after his style and just adapted to my body type and my skillset."

Ryan Couture, 33, thought that a win over Gonzalez would have been a gateway to contention in the Bellator lightweight division. His ultimate goal is to make a run at the title, currently held by Will Brooks, and then hang up the gloves for good. He won't be competing in MMA until he's 48 years old like his father did. Ryan sees a long future ahead coaching and running the gym after his athletic career is over.

"My dad is busy enough that he can't be as involved as he might like," Ryan said. "I'd like to step up and start representing a little more and focus on running that."

Ryan has won four in a row and is coming off a first-round submission win over Dakota Cochrane in March. Coincidentally, he's right around the same age now that his dad was when he started his MMA career. Ryan Couture is comfortable with the fact that he and his father are on different paths.

"I never had any expectation that I would achieve the heights that he did in my career," he said. "He's such an icon and a big part of that was timing. He got into the sport early and he was one of the first major names and one of the ones that helped break it through to the mainstream. That just can't happen again."

Indeed, there is only one "The Natural" and his son believes we've seen the last of him as an MMA fighter. Randy Couture is 52 years old and Emelianenko is 38, but the bout would still be massive from a drawing standpoint.

When asked if his father still had another MMA victory in him, Ryan Couture laughed.

"He still gets on the mat and spars every so often and gives the young guys hell," he said. "I don't doubt that he's capable of it."