This isn’t the first time the UFC has rolled the dice on another industry’s superstar, and it probably won’t be the last. At the tender age of 41, it’s highly unlikely James Toney’s signing will rock the mixed martial arts world like former WWE stud Brock Lesnar’s did, but by no means is he a schmuck.
“A lot of pro boxers have made a lot of noise about how they would do in mixed martial arts, but nobody on the level of a James Toney has been willing to back up his talk,” UFC president Dana White stated in an official press release. “He’s a legend whose boxing record speaks for itself, and he’s a guy who I’ve got a lot of respect for. Now he’s got every intention of matching that success in MMA, and I think he’s got the right attitude – let’s see if he can do it.”
“Lights Out” owns a dominant 72-6 professional boxing record, including 3 draws and 2 no-contests. The IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight titles have all been wrapped around Toney’s waist at one point during his illustrious career.
He was last seen taking a 2ndRound TKO over Matthew Greer in a small boxing show this past September.
Any time a boxer wants to dabble in the world’s most popular combat sport, haters automatically attack their lack of wrestling experience, then their inability to throw or defend kicks, BJJ, clinching, and all the other wonderful things MMA scraps provide that boxing matches can’t – all issues Toney has appeared to willingly accept head-on.
A fighter as decorated as Toney wouldn’t make this kind of jump to face a bunch of cans, but expect to see him get set-up nicely against a standup specialist, perhaps street fighting sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.
However, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture’s name has also surfaced (SHOCKER) as a potential foe which would offer fans a look at the classic striker vs. grappler matchup.
No word on when the two-time Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Year award winner will make his MMA debut.