Long before Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor went to war for ultimate bragging rights in summer 2017, James Toney and Randy Couture staged a “Boxing vs. UFC” bout in the UFC 118: “Edgar vs. Penn 2” pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event way back in Aug. 2010.
Couture won by first-round submission (arm-triangle choke).
Toney claims the fight was booked on the condition “The Natural” would later rematch “Lights Out” inside the boxing ring, a pugilistic crossover that failed to materialize because Couture retired from combat sports after getting his teeth knocked out by Lyoto Machida.
“I knew he was scared when the fight was made,” Toney told Murder Master Music Show (transcribed by My MMA News). “Randy is a great fighter in MMA. We had made a deal that we do one fight MMA and one fight boxing. But of course, after he beat me, he retires. What kind of shit is that? That’s a coward move, I lost a lot of respect for him. He retired a week later. The bad thing about it is I made more money than he did. I offered to pay him more money for the boxing than he made with the fight with me.”
While it’s true that Couture went on to retire — for the third and final time — that announcement didn’t come until a year later when UFC scheduled the light heavyweight fight against Machida. “The Natural” was 47 at the time of that booking.
Perhaps only this fight could lure him back.
Toney, who turns 54 in just a few months, returned to the squared circle in early 2011 but only managed to post a 5-4 record in his final run, which ended with a technical knockout victory over Mike Sheppard and an overall record of 77-10-3 with 47 knockouts.