For a guy with such a big mouth and a love for the limelight, James Toney seems to be really concerned with what info leaks from his training camp for his first mixed martial arts fight. It means one of two things. For the rumored fight against Randy Couture at UFC 118 in Boston, Toney is working his butt off in all aspects of MMA or he's being lazy, like he has before so many of his recent boxing matches.
One good sign is that young MMA fighter and amateur wrestling phenom Muhammed Lawal was working with Toney. Lawal didn't get the "keep quiet" memo.
"I got a call from a guy named Dave Henderson and he was like, ‘How about coming out and training with Lights Out.’ I was like, ‘You mean James Toney?’ So I came out last week and worked out with him. I was pretty surprised," Lawal told Fanhouse.
Lawal said he and Toney just worked on wrestling. He wasn't about to spar just with the hands with the 41-year-old world-champion boxer.
"Thank goodness we didn’t do any stand-up. I’ve seen some of his sparring footage from when he sparred with Danny Green, and I’m not trying to be like Danny Green and get busted up like that. Hell to the no. I pass on that stuff right now."
Toney won't confirm that he's signed the contract, but he is speaking directly about the matchup with Couture and sounds pretty confident.
"I respect Randy Couture because he is a legend in his sport. The difference is I am the ultimate fighter," Toney told Fighthype. "I’m not worried about nothing he can do; he better worry about what I can do."
Toney continues to say he's not worried about hitting the deck against one of the legendary takedown artists in the history of MMA.
"Everybody asking, 'James, what you gonna do when he gets you on the ground? You better work on your ground game.' Work on my ground game for what? I ain’t going to sleep. [...] Ya’ll know the nickname 'Lights Out!' That’s what I do, put people to sleep and dress them up. You know what I’m saying? Especially since I’m fighting with 4 ounce gloves on. It’s crazy; it’s ridiculous. It’s like going to the gym for murder."
Toney really hasn't been a knockout puncher since the 90's but those four-ounce gloves do provide an interesting challenge and it's not like Couture hasn't been blasted out in the past by other strikers.
"Come August 28th, lovely is going to turn into ugly very quickly," said Toney. "If he come in aggressive, he’s gonna make it easy for me."
The wrestler versus the elite striker is what makes this fight so intriguing. Hopefully Toney drills hard on the grappling aspect. It probably won't do much good if Couture sticks to a gameplan of closing space quickly and getting it to the clinch. Even if Toney gets dumped on his head and destroyed at least post-40 he's getting himself in better shape. If he gets down to 205 pounds, it'll be the first time he's fought at or under that weight since 2003.
Tip via MMAConvert