[James Toney] learns really fast. I mean, of course his striking is unparalleled, but I tell you what, for a big guy, he moves fast. He’s not all fancy with things yet and he’s not the most technical guy on the ground, but he is so strong man. He is a strong guy… It’s actually rewarding when my students start picking up little things that I’ve been showing them. What happened was, I was trying to pass his guard. He didn’t pull guard or anything like that. I’m not going to say how we got to the ground because I don’t want to give anything that he’s trying to do away. We were going over a few things and I passed his guard and I got a mount and he turned and like grabbed my foot. I’m lucky he didn’t break it. He was close to breaking it. I think James has to learn how to not tweak submissions in training (laughing). I mean, I guess he didn’t tweak it, but he was really waiting on a tap (laughing). But he landed like a toe hold and I didn’t really get to see exactly what he was doing because my back was turned, but he twisted it pretty good. I had to roll out of it, so I don’t know if I should count that as a submission or not, but I was impressed. Let’s just say James Toney almost submitted me! I had to get up and give him some dap for it. I was very proud of him. He is a fast learner.

—Dean Lister telling Fight Hype about the time James Toney “almost submitted” him during a BJJ training session

This comes a few days after King Mo admitted that James Toney tapped him out with a standing guillotine while they were testing Toney’s takedown defense. Mo also commented on how “strong” Toney is.

“I was thinking, ‘This (defense) is isn’t going to work. (I’ll get the) takedown… After about eight tries, he kind of got me. I said, ‘Damn.’ He’s kind of strong, too. The dude is kind of strong.”

The reality is a few months of wrestling and BJJ training isn’t going to put Toney on Couture’s level of clinch and ground fighting in the same way that a few months of pure boxing training wouldn’t put Couture on Toney’s level of boxing. Toney’s strength is only going to take him so far against a crafty veteran like Couture. If Toney beats him, he’ll do it with his boxing, not his ground game.

Image via M-1GlobalUSA.com

Update: James Toney may be learning the fundamentals of wrestling and jiu-jitsu, but that doesn’t mean he likes it. He says all that “hugging” is for “girls.”

“I don’t care if Randy Couture is a legend in this sport, I have had a career of knocking guys out in their back yards. Boxing is the superior science, we are the best. I am going to show that wrestling and hugging people is for women. That’s not going to happen against me. I have a lot of KO’s in my career and you will see another one on August 28th… Yeah its true, I worked with King Mo. He was happy to come down and spar with me. He showed me some skills and I submitted him with a rear-naked choke. But you know that jiu jitsu, all the hugging… its for girls.”