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When Three-Weight World Champion Boxer Made His UFC Debut And It Went Horribly Wrong

When Three-Weight World Champion Boxer Made His UFC Debut And It Went Horribly Wrong

James Toney's dream MMA career was shattered into a million pieces when he was manhandled in his debut UFC fight against Randy Couture.

The 51-year-old American had an impressive professional boxing record and won 77 of his 92 professional fights.

But 'Lights Out' made an interesting career decision when he signed a multi-fight deal with UFC president Dana White in 2010 at the age of 42.


Toney was committed to his path in MMA and was coached by Juanito Ibarra and Trevor Sherman, but it wasn't enough to stop him from having a nightmare debut against Couture.

The former boxer stepped into the octagon at UFC 118 in August 2010 and was outclassed by the UFC Hall of Famer.

The 56-year-old Couture, who was a three-time UFC heavyweight champ, landed a successful takedown on Toney in seconds and ruthlessly beat him down with repeated strikes to the head.

Toney was way out of his depth and was left helpless as Couture mercilessly battered him on his UFC debut.


Only a month later and 'Lights Out' would be released by UFC, calling it an end on his ill-fated MMA career.

Both Couture and Toney later revisited their clash in 2017 when Conor McGregor was preparing for his blockbuster boxing clash with Floyd Mayweather.

Toney revealed that he would have loved a second fight with Couture under boxing rules instead of MMA.

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"Everybody knows I'm not a ground-and-pound fighter, I don't do that," he told Sky Sports.

"I'm a straight-up boxer. I did train, but the guy [Couture] is a phenomenal wrestler.

"I tried to get up, but.... my plan was to knock him out quickly but he got to my legs, took me down and did what he did.

"I would have loved for Randy to do a boxing match, but he wouldn't. My fight has got nothing to do with Conor McGregor. He's got to do him [Mayweather]. Do whatever he can."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Couture also said that he was "happy to represent MMA" in his clash with Toney, along with dismissing the comparisons made between MMA and boxing.

"Comparing boxing and MMA has been going on since the creation of mixed martial arts, but they're apples and oranges," he said.


"James Toney, back in 2010, decided he wanted to step into the MMA cage and try his hand, because he was a top-ranked boxer. But that didn't fare too well for him.

"I wasn't silly enough to try James Toney's hands while wearing 4oz gloves. That would have been ludicrous. I was happy to represent MMA in that match."

Featured Image Credit: SuperChevy446/UFC

Topics: Randy Couture, Boxing News, UFC News, MMA News, Boxing, UFC, MMA

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Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]