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UFC Stars Predict Couture vs. Toney

With the sports world buzzing about the UFC debut of former world boxing champion James Toney, some of the biggest names in boxing and MMA have come together to offer their opinions on his epic fight with Hall of Famer Randy Couture on Aug. 28. Before the two legends lock horns inside the Octagon® at TD Garden in Boston live on Pay-Per-View, we take a look at the thoughts, opinions, and predictions of some of the world’s finest fighters and personalities.
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.”

Andre Berto – WBC welterweight champion – father Dieusel Berto fought in UFC 10
"I think it's going be a good fight. Everybody knows Randy is not gonna stand up with James. If he does, it will be a short night. Most likely Randy is going to try to take James down and try to submit him so UFC can be glorified that they're better than boxing. Hopefully James Toney has been working on his wrestling and ground skills. If so, it'll be very entertaining.”

"Terrible" Terry Norris - Former world junior middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king
"I just wish James luck and may the best man win. We know if it was just straight up boxing, James would knock Couture out, but James is fighting Couture's fight and he'll have his hands full."

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.”

Miguel Cotto – reigning WBA junior middleweight champion
Prediction: Couture

“Two great fighters, one trained in MMA and one in boxing. In a boxing match, I give it to Toney and in an MMA fight; I have to go with the MMA fighter (Couture).”

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.”

Greg Haugen – former world lightweight champion – fought Vinny Pazienza, Ray Mancini, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Pernell Whitaker
Prediction: Toney

“Unless Toney is fat and out of shape, he will destroy Randy. His standup game is way too strong for him. Remember, James is one of the most skilled guys out there if he is in good shape.”

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?”

Paulie Malignaggi – Former world junior welterweight boxing champion
Prediction: Couture

"The problem is, most boxers, even in their prime, would not last in MMA. These guys know how to grapple and kick, and the same could be said the opposite way – no MMA guy is gonna last in the ring with a boxer if they’re boxing. You’re going into somebody else’s domain.  And not that Couture is a spring chicken, but if you look at James Toney, he’s always a guy who’s been a close-range fighter – shoulder rolls, dips, counterpunches. He never really had an outside game that was so special. He had slow feet and was plodding, but he had good upper body movement. You can’t do that in MMA, especially with Couture, who was a Greco-Roman wrestler.  He’ll just wrestle him, take him down, choke him or ground and pound him. I don’t see how James Toney can win the fight, even if Couture is the older guy, but the best to both guys."

WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan
Prediction: Couture

“Toney has to make his punch count right away, but Couture will be watching for that. In any fight, you need a plan B and I don’t think Toney has one in a UFC fight.”

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.”

Sechew Powell – Number one IBF junior middleweight contender
“I think if James can keep the fight on his feet he has a decent chance, but the minute they take the fight to the ground it's over.”

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.”

WBA heavyweight champion David Haye
Prediction: Couture via submission

“I admire Toney’s courage, but six months of training isn’t going to be enough. As a UFC fan, I know two or three years wouldn’t be enough. He’s delusional here. Couture isn’t only going to end his UFC career inside a minute, he is most likely going to break James’s arm or leg and end his boxing career too.”

Christy “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin – Women’s boxing pioneer
Prediction: Couture

“I have never watched a UFC Pay-Per-View event, but I will be watching JT. I want James to win, but he’s stepping into Couture's domain, therefore I think it will be Couture stopping James with his ground game.”

Steve “2 Pounds” Forbes – Former IBF super featherweight champion
 “It’s an interesting matchup. I think the question for Toney is, is he insane or is he a genius? He’s not taking on a regular MMA fighter; he’s taking on a legend in every sense of the word, but not only that, he's doing it in Couture's discipline and that takes guts. If Toney is successful, then he has opened up a whole new avenue for himself and other boxers to go into MMA. Toney has always been a risk taker and he’s fearless, and for that I root for him to do well. But I also love Captain America (Couture) because he's from my birthplace of Oregon and has done great things in the sport. I hope it’s a good match.”

Steve Cunningham – IBF cruiserweight champion
Prediction: Couture

“Toney’s got a puncher’s chance, but this isn't boxing, and Couture’s not gonna stand and trade punches with him. This is Randy’s sport and I see him winning. Plus, he should be extra fueled to win this fight because of the disrespect from Toney, but I hope it’s an awesome fight either way.”

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.”

Fres Oquendo – heavyweight boxing contender – lost 12 round split decision to Toney in 2008

"James’ only chance is if he connects clean on Randy’s chin like Ray Mercer did against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia. If not, I see Randy taking James down and that will be the beginning of the end of James’ MMA debut. Number one, because James has no legs, as I showed the world when we fought, and two, he has no ground game experience, which gives Randy the edge."

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.”

Former two-weight boxing champion Ricky Hatton
Prediction: Toney within a minute or Couture

“James has a very good sense of timing, so there’s a chance he will land the one shot he needs and score a win right away. But, having been ringside at Randy’s fight with the much bigger Brock Lesnar, I think it is almost certain Couture will be able to maul Toney to the fence, take him down, and finish him there.”

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.”

Jeff Mayweather – Renowned trainer and former pro boxer
“I think it should be interesting. Toney has the advantage in a stand up match, but if he gets taken down Couture should win because he has way too much experience. I heard Toney was working with a top grappler and doing real well but I don't think you can take a crash course in something like that and perfect it. And vice versa, there’s no way Couture could become a great boxer overnight, so I think a lot will be determined after the very first blow. I will be watching it for sure and I'm pulling for James Toney because I know him personally, not because he's a boxer. These are two different sports and I think that they both have their own fanbase, but the two of them combined will make this a huge event.”

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.”

Australian boxing champion Danny Green
Prediction: Couture

“Toney is a slow starter and Randy will tear him apart.”

Gerry Cooney – Former heavyweight contender and world title challenger
"I love James Toney and the great things he’s done in the ring, but I used to wrestle too, so I’m afraid that when Couture gets his hands on Toney and takes him down it’s going to be hard for him to get free. But Couture has been in many wars, so we’ll see."

For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com.  


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