In August 2010, in Boston, at UFC 118, Randy Couture fought three-weight world boxing champion James Toney, in an MMA bout. It lasted 199 seconds.
“It was a good night for me,” Couture told Fighters Only’s Gareth A. Davies. “A lot of people were asking the same questions of James Toney that are being asked right now of Conor McGregor: what is Conor thinking stepping into a high-level boxing match with an undefeated fighter that has been a champion for so long?
“It’s probably not the wisest decision he’s made, but I think he’s got one or two things going for him. I think he’s a long and rangy fighter for that weight class. I don’t think Mayweather is used to fighting a guy as long as he is. And I think he’s unorthodox. He’s not going to throw punches like every other boxer Floyd has faced in the last 15 years. Those things give him a slight chance but I think that’s all he’s got… a one in ten chance of catching Mayweather, who has been basically untouchable for 15 years.”
Couture admits, although he made the fight look easy by getting Toney on the ground and winning by arm triangle choke submission, that Mayweather, just as he did, will be taking his opponent seriously. There are always risks.
“It would have been stupid for me to stand around in front of him,” explains Couture. “I think Mayweather respects him technically. He’s the one who has the most to lose here. If I’d have messed around with James Toney and lost that fight, how does that make us look as mixed martial artists?
“I think that same pressure is on Floyd at this point. If he lets a guy with a 0-0 record in boxing walk up in there and touch him and hurt him, what does that do to his legacy and boxing? It will be interesting. I’ll be watching. I think we’re all going to be watching. There’s too much hype and interest.”