Ryan Couture became a fan of mixed martial arts at a young age, watching his father, Randy, become the first UFC fighter to claim championship belts in two weight divisions.
Even then, however, Ryan never dreamed of following in his father's footsteps.
If anything, the fact he shared his father's last name discouraged Ryan from joining the sport.
"It wasn't until fairly recently I wanted this for myself," Ryan said. "I actually was really apprehensive for a long time about mixed martial arts because I knew there would be extra attention on my last name.
"The thought of pursuing it as a career didn't occur to me until I got in there for my first amateur fight."
Randy Couture remains a huge figure in the sport. He is training for a high-profile fight Aug. 28 against former boxing heavyweight world champion James Toney and is scheduled to walk the red carpet Wednesday in Las Vegas for the premiere of his new movie, "The Expendables."
But after building an amateur record of 5-1-1, living up to the "Couture" name no longer intimidates Ryan. He'll look to further his career when he makes his professional debut Friday on the Strikeforce Challengers 10 card in Phoenix.
And, just as he suspected, it's been a media circus leading up to the fight, which will be televised to a national audience on Showtime.
"It puts a lot of extra eyes on me, but I definitely wouldn't call it a burden," Ryan said. "Most guys getting ready for a debut aren't doing multiple interviews and being on television, but the benefits are much greater than the little bit of stress it gives me."
A professional career in MMA was just about the furthest thing from Ryan's mind when he graduated with a degree in mathematics from Western Washington University in 2004.
Unsure of his next step, Ryan took a job at a bank in Bellingham, Wash.
In 2008, he decided to move to Las Vegas to help his father run a newly opened MMA gym, Xtreme Couture.
"After college, I wasn't sure 100 percent what I wanted to do," Ryan said. "I got a job at a bank but wasn't terribly passionate about it. When the opportunity came to get involved in the family business, it seemed worth pursuing.
"When I came out here is when I learned my passion lied more in the training than the business side of it."
Even with his professional career taking off and the fact his father owns the gym, Ryan has continued to put in hours at the front desk of Xtreme Couture.
The humility he shows in his personal life is just as impressive to some of his teammates as is his dedication to training.
"It's awesome, because if he's not the guy that's just trying to take advantage of the name," said longtime Xtreme Couture member Gray Maynard. "He's put in his time. He's worked the desk. He's a quiet dude who doesn't even try to have a name.
"We're happy for him. Good things come to good people, and we just can't wait for his fight."
Ryan says he's eager to take the next step of his career and feels he's well prepared to make sure the first performance of his six-fight deal is successful.
Of Stark's four losses, three have come by way of submission. That should sit well with Ryan, as all five of his amateur wins were by submission.
"Based on what I've seen, I don't think I'll have to try and make it a fight on the ground because he likes to wrestle people anyway," Ryan said. "I feel like I've been sharp with my striking lately, and I'd like to put that to use, but I think I'll have an advantage on the ground, as well."
While Ryan's professional career is just beginning, Stark may be fighting to keep his alive.
On paper, Stark might not appear as much of a challenge after losing three of his last four fights.
Ryan doesn't feel that way, however, and knows that any time a fighter has a chance to knockoff someone with "Couture" for a last name, he's going to bring his best.
"Especially in my first few fights, I would expect that everybody I go up against is going to see this as a huge opportunity to make a name for himself," Ryan said. "I think it would be silly for me not to expect them to come in conditioned and highly motivated to take me out."