Boxing champion James “Lights Out” Toney makes his mixed martial arts debut against UFC legend Randy “The Natural” Couture on Aug. 28 at UFC 118 in Boston.
It’s a classic match-up of conflicting styles pitting a world-class boxer against an Olympic lever wrestler, but Toney isn’t worried about Couture’s takedowns. He thinks Couture should be more concerned with his punches than he should be about the possibility of being put on his back.
But it’s difficult to box off your back.
“Everybody asks how are you going to defend the takedown. I’m not worried about that. How are you going to defend these punches? I’m going from 10-ounce gloves to four-ounce gloves,” Toney commented to MMAWeekly.com. “If I hit someone with four-ounce gloves, oh my goodness, me and my crew might go to jail for homicide.”
A boxing stance in mixed martial arts with an opponent well versed in wrestling and striking leaves the boxer virtually defenseless against leg kicks and single leg takedowns, but Toney doesn’t plan on doing anything different than he would in a boxing match.
“I haven’t changed a thing. You’ll see. I’m here to prove a point so people know that boxing is still running supreme over any discipline out there,” proclaimed the boxer turned mixed martial artist.
“I haven’t changed nothing. I only added a few things to my roster of offensive skills. You’ll see come Aug. 28.”
Toney respects Couture, but has taken offense to some of “The Natural’s” statements leading up to the fight.
“He called me out. He said he wanted to welcome me to the Octagon and break my leg and all of that,” said Toney. “Hey, God bless him. I hope he keeps his word.
“When you say stuff like you’re going to break James’ leg and all that, you’re talking to a bull. I’m going to try to hurt you. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get you out. I’m going to try to break you up,” stated the MMA rookie.
“Now we can‘t be friends. You know what I‘m saying? You disrespected me by saying something like that. Now all gloves are off. Anything goes. I hope he comes to fight. Don’t try to hug me like a little girl like he usually does. When you‘re scared to get hit, you hug people, you stay close.”
Toney not only was offended by Couture’s comments, but also takes issue with Couture being considered a legend.
“A legend?” questioned the multi-division boxing titleholder. “I’m a legend. As a matter of fact, I’m a legend of my time. I’ve been in the game 25 years. I’ve had 84 pro fights. How can he be a legend with 28 fights? Come on dog.
“Come on man, give me a break,” he quipped. “It makes me want to throw up. A legend like Randy Couture? You guys need to stop talking about the legendary Randy Couture and better start talking about the legendary James Toney, the greatest fighter ever put on the planet. Period.”
Toney feels disrespected by the critics heading into his UFC 118 match-up with Couture and is determined to prove them wrong.
“They act like Randy Couture is fighting some bum off the streets. I tell you what, like I said, everybody pay their $49.95 on Aug. 28. Tune in and don’t be late. And if you are late, the lights might be out.”