FIGHT! Magazine caught up with Randy Couture at his gym Las Vegas as he prepares for his upcoming fight against professional boxer James Toney at UFC 118.
Couture thinks it’s an “interesting crossover fight” that will attract the attention of MMA and boxing fans, but says it really “doesn’t mean anything” for the sport of mixed martial arts, regardless of whether he wins or loses.
Whatever happens, don’t expect to see Couture stand in front of Toney and trade punches. He says any mixed martial arts would have to be “crazy” to do that, which is interesting, because David Haye, the WBA heavyweight boxing champ Toney wants to fight after Couture, says after training in MMA himself, he thinks Toney is “delusional” for thinking he can compete in the UFC.
“Six months of training isn’t going to be enough,” Haye said. “As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. How many times has Toney sprawled in his life? 500? How many leg kicks has he taken in his life? 300? How many Kimura attempts has he defended? 140? Even if he’s done double that amount, he wouldn’t have nearly the experience needed to win a UFC fight.”
“I know from training in MMA myself that the wrestling aspect ruins your punching power,” Haye said. “After a minute of grappling, your arms, back and shoulders fill with blood and even if you then find space to throw punches, your power is suddenly crap.
“And I hit a lot harder and I’m so much faster than James, and I couldn’t land a punch on fighters when all they wanted to do was take me down to the ground. James is a much more static fighter than I am, and is going to get thrown on his back immediately by Randy. I admire Toney’s spirit and boxing skills. But he’s delusional here.”
He is very right. It’s a freak show. I said I’d never put on a freak show fight and I’m doing it. Listen, this guy [Toney] chased me around the country saying bad things about the sport. If he wants to get his ass whooped, I’m gonna let him. You want me to tell you, ‘James Toney vs. Randy Couture is gonna be the greatest fight in the history of the sport?’ No. I’m building a great card around this fight. You’re not buying the James Toney vs. Randy Couture fight alone. Here’s what I expect; the bell rings, they come to the center of the Octagon, circle each other for a little bit, Randy double legs him, puts him against the fence, squashes his head and the fight is over. But I’m not delusional. We started filming the UFC 118 Countdown show, and as fat as James Toney is, all the guys working on the show say his hands are like lightning, they’re so fast. You can’t disrespect the guy for what he’s accomplished in his career. He could catch Randy and knock him out. Everybody has a puncher’s chance. God forbid.
I certainly don’t agree with Dana White on everything, especially when it comes to Fedor Emelianenko, but I think he’s pretty spot on with the Couture-Toney fight. Couture will probably push him against the cage, dump on his head, and either pound him out or submit him. But there’s also a very real chance Toney catches him and knocks him out before that happens. Either way, as Randy said, it doesn’t really mean anything more than one fighter was able to execute his gameplan better than the other.