International Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion James “Lights Out” Toney is set to make his MMA debut on the sport’s biggest stage in the UFC and against one of the sport’s biggest names in Randy Couture. In the lead up to his August UFC 118 bout with Couture, Toney has polarized MMA fans and has shown both that he has a somewhat-surprising knowledge of MMA (at least factually, reports of Toney landing a submission on “King Mo” Lawal in training notwithstanding) and that he is still well versed in the crass promotion technique associated with professional boxing. Today Toney participated in a live chat with fans hosted by MMAFighting.com in which he again demonstrated those qualities and also offered a little insight into the process by which his opponent was determined.
“The person I wanted to fight right off the bat was Brock Lesnar,” Toney typed to fans. “He’s a champion, I’m a champion and I wanted to do it. But they said I couldn’t do that. Then they said, ‘How about Kimbo?’ But I said, ‘That’s too easy. That’s like kicking a little kid’s butt.’ But then Randy started saying he wanted to fight me, so I said, ‘OK, you’re the first one getting it.'”
Many are assuming that Couture will utilize the multi-dimensional aspect of mixed martial arts competition to easily defeat Toney and that “Lights Out” will subsequently retire from MMA competition. Toney will not concede that defeat is a possibility for him in this fight and says that, although he is not looking past Couture, his MMA career will last at least long enough for him to step into the cage opposite UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.
“I told Dana my goal is to hold the heavyweight championship of the UFC and in boxing at the same time,” Toney said. “So as long as it takes me to get Brock Lesnar, that’s how long it’ll be. If Lesnar gets by Cain Velasquez, I’ll fight Lesnar in February or March. But right now my focus is on Randy Couture. Randy’s gonna get it. I ain’t playing with that dude.”
Toney also explained that he believes Cain Velasquez has a serious chance of defeating Lesnar, whom he believes to be a coward based on his recent comeback win over Shane Carwin.
“I like Cain Velasquez, and I think he has the ability to knock Lesnar out,” Toney said. “I think that fight is a toss-up. Lesnar ran away from Shane Carwin like a girl, but then Carwin ran out of gas and quit. But I’ll fight any of them, any time anywhere. That’s my motto.”
The skilled boxer has gone on the record many times to inform MMA fans that boxing is superior to MMA and that he intends to prove it come August 28th. However, that does not mean that Toney does not enjoy the sport of MMA; conversely, “Lights Out” believes the sport to be fine entertainment and actually claims to “love MMA.”
“Everybody has this misconception I don’t like MMA,” Toney said. “I love MMA. I love Georges St. Pierre, I love Rich Franklin, I like BJ Penn, I like Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans, I like a ton of these guys. I don’t have a problem with those dudes. MMA is a great sport.”
Toney is in a close second to middleweight contender Chael Sonnen in the late-Summer trash talk race and will have the opportunity to put his claims and skills to the test when he takes on Randy Couture in the co-main event of UFC 118. Headlining the card will be the lightweight title fight rematch between former champ BJ Penn and current champion Frankie Edgar.