Win, lose or draw, UFC legend Randy "The Natural" Couture expects his fight versus Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 on April 30 to be the final time he steps into the Octagon.
"I believe this is my last fight," Couture told ESPN.com on Monday. "I know the UFC is probably going to have other ideas, especially with acquiring Strikeforce and all that. They're probably going to try to draw me into another fight but I don't think that's going to happen. I want to stick to my guns and this is the last one."
The light heavyweight tilt, Couture's 30th professional mixed martial arts contest, is scheduled to take place in front of over 55,000 fans in Toronto's Rogers Centre. Couture's career began in May 1997 at UFC 13. Four bouts later he defeated Maurice Smith to become the UFC heavyweight champion. Couture (19-10) won the heavyweight title three times, and also added two light heavyweight championships.
Couture, who turns 48 in June, holds UFC records for most title reigns
(six) and most championship fights (15). With his win versus Tim Sylvia in March 2007 -- his comeback fight after retiring for 13 months -- Couture, at the age of 43, became the oldest fighter to win a UFC title.
"I will miss the competition immensely but I want to go out on my terms," Couture said. "I want to go out when I think it's time to go out and not because I lost this fight or lost that fight or because I had an injury that precludes me from training the way I want to train.
"I want to make the decision on my own."
Couture said he will remain active in mixed martial arts as a trainer and personality, and lend his voice to issues surrounding fighters'
rights as the need arises. In recent years, Couture has focused on acting. He is scheduled to shoot the sequel to last summer's Sylvester Stallone-led vehicle "The Expendables 2" this August.
Josh Gross covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.