“There wasn’t a sentimentality about it. There was kind of a sense of relief. I felt like it was the right decision long before this and I felt more secure walking out that this is the right time and the right thing for me to be doing. There was doubt in my head… It looked like he started to throw a front kick with his left leg and kind of jumped into that crane kick thing, which comes purely from karate. It wasn’t anything I’d seen in practice ever. I don’t think anyone’s seen someone do that in an MMA fight… I thought it was a punch. With his front kick, he’ll follow up with a punch almost at the same time. We were prepared for that, so I thought I’d missed that [combination]… Definitely, it’s the last fight. I know they’re going to try to throw me something and get me to come back, but it’s not going to happen.”

— Randy Couture talking to SI.com’s Loretta Hunt about his thoughts on the final fight of his career

I think this is the end, folks. It kind of sucks that Randy Couture ended his fight career flat on his back, unconscious and missing a tooth, but man, was that kick spectacular.

So what’s next for Randy Couture? Well, he does have some acting gigs lined up, so that will keep him busy for the next year or so, but he’ll surely have some downtime and who knows if Hollywood will still want him now that he’s retired. MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta suggested last week that the media needs a retired voice in the media like Couture’s who can shine light on some of the major issues in MMA without fear of repercussions from Zuffa, but according to Couture, preliminary conversations have already taken place with Zuffa about him staying on with the company in some capacity, similar to Chuck Liddell.

“I turned down a couple of fights before they threw Lyoto at me and we’d opened a door to discussing post-retirement activities and how I’d be involved in the company and what that might look like,” Couture said. “It’s apparent that they 100 percent want to incorporate me into what’s going on in this next year and the coming years.”

If that’s the case, it’s doubtful we’ll see Couture lead the charge for such things as a fighter union, but he does believe the UFC is paying attention to those issues.

“We haven’t gotten to a point where I’m in a position to start bringing up those things, but I know (Zuffa’s) paying attention,” added Couture. “There’s things that have already been discussed, not necessarily with me directly sitting down at a table with them yet, but there have been discussions.”

Either way, Randy may done competing, but he’s not going to walk away from the sport altogether.

Image via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting