You can probably say that James Toney is the first “crossover fighter” in modern-day combat sports. The three-division, multiple-time world boxing champion stepped inside the Octagon at UFC 118 in 2010 to fight two-weight champion and Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture.
The bout ended as expected, with Couture winning via first-round submission and earning his black belt from it. But according to Toney, he struck a deal with Couture for a boxing match afterward.
Now, he has some unflattering words for “The Natural” for not honoring that part of their supposed agreement.
“He was scared to fight with me. And my thing is, hey, Randy’s a great fighter in MMA. We had made a deal: we’ll do one fight MMA, and one fight boxing,” Toney said in a recent interview with the Murder Master Music Show.
“But of course, after he beat me, he retired. What kind of shit is that? That’s a coward move. I lost all respect for him.
“The bad thing about it (is that) I made more money than he did. I offered to pay him more money for boxing than (he made) in the fight with me (in the UFC).”
The 53-year-old Toney last fought in 2017, where he won via seventh-round TKO and subsequently announced his retirement. But if he had another opportunity, he says the result would be the opposite.
“For me, it was trial and error. I learned from it. And if I do it all over again, it’d be different. I promise you.”
After his fight with Toney, Couture took one last bout eight months later against Lyoto Machida. He lost via crane kick KO in the second round and retired soon after.