Heavyweight boxing champion James “Lights Out” Toney has made a very public attempt at crossing over sports into the world of mixed martial arts. Though he has yet to step into the cage, Toney has managed to get himself signed by the UFC and has been awarded a fight against one of the sport’s most prolific and recognizable stars in Randy “The Natural” Couture. Toney has been on a media tirade (self-released or otherwise) for some time now in which he frequently discusses the lesser points of several things including (but certainly not limited to) MMA, the sport’s champions, and just about everything else that is not James Toney. Toney recently spoke with Sports Radio Interviews to discuss his upcoming bout with Couture, to reiterate why he has chosen to compete in MMA and to attempt to prove, once again, why boxing is a superior sport to MMA.
“The reason why I’m doing this is because everybody is fighting in the UFC and everybody is scared to fight me in the heavyweight division [of boxing],” Toney said. “I have to come where the action is. I’m coming in to break some jaws, break some necks, and everything else.”
Toney actually managed to give some props to MMA in the form of acknowledging that preparation for a mixed martial arts bout is actually much more strenuous than of that for a boxing match.
“As you know MMA training is way different,” he said. “Much harder, much more difficult, and the first couple weeks were crazy, but after that everything clicked in because I’m a natural athlete. Everything was crazy but I love it.”
Many speculators in the MMA community see Toney as a one-trick pony and are betting that Couture will take “Lights Out” away from his comfort zone, put him on his back and either beat him or choke/torque him into submission. Toney refutes those speculations and insists that, should he end up on his back, he will be prepared for whatever Couture can throw at him.
“I’m very comfortable on my back,” said Toney. “I’ll be ready for anything. Once you’re a natural athlete you can adapt. Anything is possible. If Randy wants to go to the floor, we can go to the floor, but it won’t be long. If it is a long time, because of that he’s going to get knocked out.”
Toney, who is known as being a pure boxer with knockout power, scoffs at the notion that there are currently any strikers competing in MMA that are anywhere near his level and intends to prove his dominance in the Octagon come late August.
“Like you just said, you talk about Anderson Silva as the best striker in the division, I’m the best striker in the MMA period,” Toney said. “I’m gonna show everybody how to punch for real. I’ve been in with the best fighters in the world period. I ain’t talking about boxing or talking about MMA. Boxing is all that matters. Whatever it comes down to it, when Randy Couture sees me ready to shoot that right hand up to…I’m telling you he’s not even gonna see it coming, it’s gonna be over and he’s gonna be on his way to the hospital.”
Toney and Couture will square off in the co-main event of UFC 118 which is going down this August 28th at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The card will be headlined by a lightweight title fight rematch between current champion Frankie Edgar and former champion BJ Penn.