Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture
is expected to fight former boxing middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion James Toney
at UFC 118 in a bout that will be an interesting experiment to find out what happens when someone with world-class boxing skills tries his hand at mixed martial arts.
And Couture, whose primary reason for continuing to fight in his late 40s is to participate in interesting fights, wants to be challenged by a Toney who's in peak physical condition. Which is why Couture wants their fight to be contested at the light heavyweight limit of 205 pounds, rather than the heavwyeight limit of 265.
Couture told MMA Weekly Radio
that he'd prefer to fight at 205 pounds but will also fight at heavyweight if that's what Toney prefers, and that his own preference is mostly about seeing Toney get himself into shape.
"I don't care, it doesn't make any difference to me," Couture said. "I actually think he will be in better shape and a tougher opponent if he's got to get himself in shape, and cut to 205. If he chooses to stay up at 230 where he's at now and fight at heavyweight, that doesn't really matter, we're not that big a difference in size."
Couture is absolutely right about that: Although Toney has weighed as much as 237 pounds in his boxing career, he is naturally a much smaller man than Couture and was at his best when he was boxing at 160. If Toney insists on fighting at heavyweight, he's basically telling us that he doesn't want to get into shape for his MMA debut. If he agrees to fight at 205, he's at least making an effort to get himself closer to the size he was when he was among the best boxers in the world.
My sense from talking to Toney is that he will likely insist on fighting at heavyweight. But I hope he can be persuaded to take his training seriously and get himself down to 205 pounds. No matter what kind of shape Toney is in, Couture is the favorite. But if Toney is as fat as he was when boxing at 237 pounds, it's going to be one ugly fight.