Article

'Lights Out' in the Octagon; UFC Signs Toney

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - He’s one of the premier boxers of the last 25 years, a future Hall of Famer who has won world titles in three weight classes while taking on a Who’s Who of the sport, including fellow champions Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman, Vassiliy Jirov, Roy Jones Jr., Mike McCallum, Iran Barkley, and Michael Nunn. But there is one more mountain left to climb for James “Lights Out” Toney, and that’s to show if he can defeat the mixed martial arts warriors of the UFC.

By Thomas Gerbasi

He’s one of the premier boxers of the last 25 years, a future Hall of Famer who has won world titles in three weight classes while taking on a Who’s Who of the sport, including fellow champions Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman, Vassiliy Jirov, Roy Jones Jr., Mike McCallum, Iran Barkley, and Michael Nunn. But there is one more mountain left to climb for James “Lights Out” Toney, and that’s to show if he can defeat the mixed martial arts warriors of the UFC.

So later this year, UFC President Dana White is prepared to give Toney his shot, signing the boxing superstar to a multi-fight contract this week to compete in the UFC.

“A lot of pro boxers have made a lot of noise about how they would do in mixed martial arts, but nobody on the level of a James Toney has been willing to back up his talk,” said White. “He’s a legend whose boxing record speaks for itself, and he’s a guy who I’ve got a lot of respect for. Now he’s got every intention of matching that success in MMA, and I think he’s got the right attitude – let’s see if he can do it.”

Owner of an amazing 72-6-3 (2 no contests) record that includes 44 wins by knockout, 41-year old James Toney is respected throughout the boxing world for his old-school approach to the fight game. For him, that means fighting anyone at anytime, and doing so by emphasizing all aspects of the sweet science.

31-2 as an amateur, Toney soon turned his sights to the pro game in 1988, and in 1991 he won his first world title at middleweight by knocking out unbeaten champion Michael Nunn in the 11th round. After six successful defenses, he moved up to 168 pounds and defeated Iran Barkley for the super middleweight championship in 1993, but he wasn’t done yet. After a stay at light heavyweight, Toney won the cruiserweight world title by defeating Vassiliy Jirov in 2003’s Fight of The Year, and his success continued at heavyweight, where he defeated Evander Holyfield, Dominick Guinn, and Fres Oquendo. In his most recent bout, on September 12, 2009, Toney – a two-time winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Year award - halted Matthew Greer in two rounds.

Current UFC fighters Marcus Davis, Chris Lytle and Alessio Sakara have competed as professional boxers in the past, but with today’s announcement, Toney becomes the most accomplished boxing veteran to ever compete in the Octagon.

An opponent and date for Toney’s UFC debut has not been determined, and will be announced at a later date.
 

Saturday, October 1
11PM/8PM
ETPT
Portland, Oregon

Media

Recent
UFC veterans Nate Marquardt and Tamdan McCrory meet in a huge UFC FIGHT PASS featured bout at Fight Night Portland. UFC commentator Jon Anik also previews the fight.
Sep 29, 2016
Hear from both Will Brooks and Alex Oliveira ahead of their Fight Night Portland co-main event scrap. No. 11-ranked Brooks makes his second Octagon appearance and "Cowboy" is looking to extend his four-fight win streak in lightweight division.
Sep 29, 2016
Two evenly matched fighters deliver the most intense fight of the season. Will a big mistake cost a fighter everything? Find out on an all-new The Ultimate Fighter on Wednesday at 10pm ET.
Sep 29, 2016
Watch the official weigh-in for Fight Night Portland on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7pm/4pm ETPT live from the PT Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.
Sep 30, 2016