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Couture’s Internet post fuels retirement chatter

Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer Randy Couture sparked rampant Internet speculation last week with a short Twitter post intimating he was done fighting.

It didn’t seem the proper forum in which to end one of the most illustrious careers in mixed martial arts history, and Couture’s attorney insisted it was not a retirement announcement.

But the 47-year-old Couture’s future in the sport remains a question mark.

“What he twittered is the same thing he’s been saying for two and a half months,” attorney Sam Spira said Monday afternoon. “Whatever decision is made, there will be some sort of official announcement and we’ll do it in conjunction with the UFC.”

From the set of the movie “Setup” in Michigan, Couture on Tuesday night posted: “Thanks to everybody who’s been tweeting about seeing my fights. I must have missed the memo. I think I’m at the end of it y’all. It’s time.”

Spira said Couture was caught off guard by the response to his Twitter message.

“He was surprised anybody really cared,” he said.

Couture has several movie projects lined up, so a fight would have to fit into his schedule. He has long said that at this stage of his career he wants only fights that are “interesting” to him.

Sources close to the fighter said the fights that intrigue Couture now would be against either former champion Lyoto Machida or current champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, though Spira said the Las Vegan isn’t “holding out” for a particular matchup.

Several reports claim Couture “turned down” a fight against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but Spira said that characterization was a bit unfair.

“It wasn’t, ‘We’d like you to fight this guy and Randy says no,” he said. “This was an ongoing discussion with the UFC over potential bouts. Did we get a formal, ‘We want you to do this?’ No. “Have we been talking about potential opponents? Yes.”

If Couture doesn’t compete again, his last fight would be a first-round submission win in August over professional boxer James Toney, who was making his MMA debut. It was Couture’s third straight victory.

“If that’s the last one, I don’t think that’s a problem, and I don’t think he feels that way either,” Spira said. “To go out winning, who does that? No offense to Ken, but who wants to be Ken Shamrock?”

Couture is on set and did not respond to a request for comment.

■ EMOTIONAL HENDERSON — The sting of a loss at the final World Extreme Cagefighting event, combined with the fact it took place in front of his hometown fans, prompted Ben Henderson to break down in tears at a news conference after losing his lightweight title to Anthony Pettis on Thursday night.

But Henderson said the loss will only help him improve.

“I was talking over with my coaches why I lost and what I need to do better,” he said. “All the wrong things I did, what do I need to do better to get my hand raised?”

Henderson thinks the mental game is particularly important to make sure his UFC debut is more successful than his WEC swan song.

“There are a lot of things that go into a fight,” he said. “It’s not just two guys punching and kicking. There’s a science behind it, and I’m going to figure it out. I will get my hand raised next time.

■ UFC TO BRAZIL — The UFC officially announced it will stage a card in Brazil on Aug. 27.

The organization has 36 Brazilians under contract, including Rua, Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo, but has not staged an event in Brazil since 1998, before the current UFC ownership was in place.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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