Oct. 25, 1998-Jan. 30, 2000
Couture's first fight outside the UFC ended in less than two minutes when he was armbarred by Hawaiian Enson Inoue. Couture's departure to Japan signified the UFC champion was no longer the lineal champion. Two and a half years after Couture's departure, the UFC heavyweight title was reborn when Bas Rutten captured the belt. But as for the mythical title of lineal champ, Enoue was the man, including one title defense at Pride 5 over pushover Soichi Nishida.