There has been a ton of talk over that past few weeks about Herschel Walker and Jose Cansaco stepping into the MMA arena. Those who don't know Herschel has been a MMA practitioner and fan for several years. He recently won his first pro fight with Strikforce at 47 years old. No denying he is a freak of nature, congratulations & kudos. However Jose is a joke of all jokes in all aspects. Only because he turns himself into the joke. His steroid issues and book were legitimate serious topics but he turns around and makes himself into a circus clown for a few bucks. He is not I repeat not a fighter and does not belong to be mentioned with the words MMA. To legitimatize the sport the UFC has stepped up the production, pay and class of fighters. Guys like Jose do not belong there, stay in the Tough Man contest.
Okay this brings me to the headline James "Lights Out" Toney signed with the UFC this week. This is great news for guys who like Toney, me. As much as I like the 41 year old former boxing Champ and great (record 73-6-2), I am by no means under the impression that he is going to walk into the Octagon and put it to a Randy Couture. By the way Randy has been begging to fight Toney. If Randy was to stand up with Toney no question it would be "Lights Out" for Randy, but I can't imagine Randy making that mistake. But we won't be talking about that fight any time soon, because Toney's first fight looks to be with Kimbo Slice, rumor in April. If you don't know who Kimbo just do an Internet search and you will be caught up in about 10 minutes.
I have been doing some digging and cannot find any information on Toney cross-training his boxing with grappling or any MMA. Those that follow Toney know that he has been out of the game for the most-part, other words a non-factor in boxing. However, a former champion who is a non-factor in boxing, facing primarily a stand up MMA fighter with very little kicking skills (Kimbo) is a huge factor for MMA fans. If Toney takes this even 20% serious and trains some basic ground escapes to avoid Kimbo's ground game, which is limited but still there, Toney will knock Kimbo out in the first minute of the fight.
That is my opinion of course. I base it on my experience watching Kimbo's Internet and MMA fights. No doubt Kimbo is a good boxer with natural stand up, but when he gets somewhat fatigued he is sloppy and winded. Toney however is a former boxing Champ, who will knock your head clean off. Regardless of how tired Toney gets (standing up of course) he can rely on technique to finish the fight. This is not "I boxed in the Air Force or College technique" this is years and years and years of mastering his technique in the boxing gym. Technique is key in boxing. Unlike the MMA fighters who look good hitting focus mitts and shadowing boxing before a MMA fight, boxers cannot hide from the truth. A boxers stand up technique, or lack of, cannot be compensated for using take-downs, kickboxing and wrestling.
This addition to the UFC is pretty cool for James Toney fans and MMA fans alike. I really don't think anyone sees Toney as a top contender for a belt but stranger things happen in the fight game. And if anyone has every had a punchers chance in the UFC, it is going to be Toney. Toney steps into the octagon with a ton of boxing experience, he has been hit in the face before and he is a monster. However if he does not take the ground game and conditioning serious, his light will not shine very long in MMA. A Toney fight will make for a great under card fight or a free fight on Spike. MMA fans have matured they expect quality from the fighting organizations and deserve it, I hope he delivers.