In a surprise move yesterday, the UFC announced the signing of boxing legend James Toney. While many are questioning whether Toney can be a relevant force in MMA, here’s a list of Octagon foes he COULD possibly beat in his debut.
Regardless of what people think of Toney’s chances for success in the “other” combat sport, there’s no denying that, even at 41, he’s still a legit boxer and by far the most accomplished of his kind to compete in mixed martial arts.
With that said, let’s rundown a list of guys the UFC should consider pitting Toney against to not only sell him as a potential contender, but also a fight that “Lights Out” could win.
It is unknown exactly what division Toney will fight in as he recently told UFC president Dana White he was walking around at 217 pounds, so both the heavyweight or light heavyweight divisions are in play.
Here’s 5thRound’s Final Four:
Kimbo Slice – This is the obvious choice because it would be a massive hit among the casual fans. Kimbo is similar to Toney in that he’s a puncher just learning MMA and that would put the two on a fairly level playing field.
Sure, Toney may not have the MMA experience and training that Kimbo has enjoyed thus far, but his 80+ boxing fights is something the street fighter’s resume can’t touch. It’s highly likely the loser will end up sleeping on the canvas, and Toney’s crisp and powerful hands combined with Kimbo Slice’s questionable chin could be a match made in heaven for UFC brass.
Stephan Bonnar – Because White already promised “The Ultimate Fighter 1” finalist lifetime security with the company, Bonnar might be a decent choice to welcome Toney to the world of MMA. Bonnar has struggled in recent fights and could provide the UFC with a big enough name to face Toney while still giving the former boxer a shot at winning.
Mirko Cro Cop – I know what you’re thinking, are you crazy? I might be, but this would be a fight that all parties would have to consider. His last win over Anthony Perosh at UFC 110 was lackluster and further spotlighted his one-dimensional game. CC repeatedly looked for his straight-left punch and completely abandoned the kicks that make him CRO COP. That’s why a fight with Toney would make too much sense if Cro Cop loses in his next fight.
Randy Couture – Every time there’s a big fight mentioned in the light heavyweight or heavyweight divisions, Captain America’s name will always be thrown on the table. At this stage in his illustrious career, there’s nothing left for the Hall of Famer to prove so his talents should only be reserved for blockbuster scraps.
This would be the epitome of a striker vs. grappler matchup and Couture has already given the thumb’s up.
“I hope I’m the first guy they call to fight tony ! :),” Couture Tweeted Wednesday night.
For those who don’t know James “Lights Out” Toney, check out this highlight video below: