Leading UFC fighters make their picks for Randy Couture vs. James Toney

With anticipation growing for Saturday’s “UFC vs. Boxing” superfight between Hall of Famer Randy Couture and champion boxer James Toney, the UFC spoke to leading UFC fighters including Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans and Dan Hardy about who they thought would win at UFC 118. To find out who they and other fighters picked, read the following extracts from the press release:

UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis

Prediction: Couture by Decision

“It would be great for a guy like James Toney to build a name for himself in MMA but I’m going to have to go with Couture because of the cage experience that he has. It should be an entertaining fight. I feel like it could go the distance. I’m going to say it will go three rounds and Couture will win 29-28.”

Dan Hardy, UFC Welterweight

“I respect him greatly as a boxer, and I admire him for backing up his words by actually stepping into the Octagon. Floyd Mayweather talked a ton of crap about UFC fighters, but he ultimately didn’t have the balls to come and back his big mouth up. James Toney does have balls.”

WEC featherweight Chad Mendes

Prediction: Couture by TKO

“Randy Couture will win this fight. I think he’ll win by first-round TKO.”

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans

“(Toney’s) inside fighting capabilities could serve him well given Randy Couture’s clinch game. Look at the Frank Mir and Shane Carwin fight – most of the damage was done to Frank Mir against the cage. But if you get a guy like James Toney who knows how to strike off the cage, and who makes a living with inside fighting … I think that could lend some promise to James Toney. It could be a short night if a guy like James Toney lands one of those shots on the inside. He’s definitely the best true boxer out there in the UFC.”

Michael Bisping, UFC Middleweight

“I can’t wait to see it to be honest. Can Randy double-leg him inside 10 seconds and do a number on him? Of course he can. But what if Toney lands one shot? That’s what makes this so interesting. What if?”

UFC welterweight Carlos Condit

Prediction: Couture

“Wrestling will be the dominant force in this fight, regardless of how well James Toney can punch or how hard he can hit. He won’t be able to set up his shots like he would in boxing, and Randy Couture is the kind of fighter to capitalise on every little mistake he makes. Randy has made a whole career out of overcoming opponents with tactics and strategies, and Toney will probably be his easiest puzzle yet. We all know Toney has only his punching to fall back on, so Randy won’t have to work too hard to grab a hold of him and get him in his domain. Couture’s too experienced and too good at what he does.”

WEC bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez

Prediction: Couture by TKO

“James Toney is just a boxer and MMA is a whole different sport. Your skills go down in boxing when you’re worried about being taken down. I don’t think someone can come in with just one background and fight a world-class MMA fighter.”

UFC welterweight Nick Ozipczak

Prediction: Couture

“I’m just going to say what everybody’s thinking, and that’s that Toney only has a puncher’s chance here. That puncher’s chance will only last in the opening thirty seconds of the fight, too. Unless Toney lands something significant on Couture early, he’ll be taken down and it will be a definite first-round stoppage for ‘The Natural’. I can see Couture winning either via ground-and-pound for by submission but, whatever it is, it will happen early. If a miracle happens and Toney gets back to his feet at any stage, he’ll then find his punches won’t have much sting on them, as he hasn’t developed the muscles in his arms to cope with the grappling aspect and then the punching.”

UFC middleweight Patrick Cote

Prediction: Couture

“If Randy underestimates his boxing skills it would be a big mistake. But how is James Toney going to react to wearing 4-ounce gloves because he’s used to the bigger gloves in boxing? He has some skills and he has punching power, but in MMA you have to be well-rounded so I think Randy will be too much for him.”

UFC lightweight Terry Etim

Prediction: Couture

“James Toney was a fantastic boxer, and one of the best to ever do it, but he’s a novice mixed martial artist. That’s the key in this fight and the reason why Randy Couture will dominate him. Toney probably still has one danger shot which can switch Randy’s lights out, but the likelihood is he won’t be in any position to land it at any stage in the fight. As soon as Randy gets a hold of him, the fight’s pretty much over. Randy won’t be foolish enough to stand and box with a guy like Toney, so he’ll be looking for his comfort zone from the off. Randy is the worst kind of opponent for Toney, because he’s a veteran guy, very experienced and knows how to execute game plans.”

WEC bantamweight contender Scott Jorgensen

Prediction: Couture by TKO

“I’m a wrestler, man. Couture is going to double leg him, take him down and beat him until he taps to strikes. It’ll be Couture by first-round ground-and-pound. I’d like to see Randy drag it out for three rounds but I don’t think Toney has the heart for that.”

UFC lightweight Paul Kelly

Prediction: Couture

“It’s Randy Couture all the way for me, as I’m a massive fan of Randy and the way he goes about his work. He’s been an inspiration to me for many years, and I can’t see how James Toney walks into mixed martial arts and beats one of its greatest fighters. There’s no doubt Toney is a great fighter in his own right, as a boxer, but he’s done nothing so far as a mixed martial artist. Couture, on the other hand, has done it all and has experienced every single situation you can possibly confront in the Octagon. This sport is all new to Toney. He may have had nearly 100 boxing matches, but he hasn’t had one MMA match. I see Randy taking him down and finishing him quickly and in devastating fashion.”

Former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown

Prediction: Couture by submission

“Randy by rear-naked choke in the first round”

UFC lightweight Andre Winner

Prediction: Couture

“I’ve been reading quotes from Toney on forums and websites, and he’s saying he’s going to come out in a normal boxing stance and won’t change his game at all. If that’s the case, unless he catches Randy very early on, he’s just going to end up on his back. If he’s not willing to learn or adapt, he’ll get pummelled. I think he’s a great boxer, but my money is on Randy, so long as he plays it smart and exposes Toney’s weaknesses. If they get into a clinch, Toney will struggle with Randy’s sheer strength and size. Toney’s a big guy, but he never started out as a big guy, and has gradually put on a lot of weight, but it’s fat weight. Randy’s a decent-sized guy and has that natural grappling strength that all great wrestlers I have. I believe that will shock Toney on the night.”

WEC bantamweight Brad Pickett

Prediction: Couture by TKO

“Obviously Randy Couture will win by first-round TKO. He’s a wise, old dog and he won’t try to prove any points on his feet. He’s going to close the distance, push him against the cage and take him down, mount him and win by ground-and-pound. Now, it’s a funny game and things can happen but if I was going to bet my house on it that’s what I think will happen.”

Tags: , , ,

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!