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James Toney's Coach, Juanito Ibarra: "He says he wanted Kimbo Slice"

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Jride

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The MMA world was rocked yesterday with the announcement of a former world champion boxer, James Toney , being signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

With a professional boxing record of 72-6-3, Toney is one of the most accomplished boxers of this, and any, generation. Titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, cruiserweight, and heavyweight divisions have all been claimed by “Lights Out” Toney.

Although boxers have made their way into MMA prior to this, none of them have had a resume the likes of Toney.

Just a few hours after the signing was announced, word got out that the champion boxer hired world famous boxing and MMA Coach Juanito Ibarra to help prepare him for his MMA debut

Bleacher Report spoke to Ibarra and he weighed in on his and Toney’s business partnership and what they intend to do.

“We get along real well. He’s a great student. He considers me a teacher. Hopefully this chemistry that we have can carry us to a title in MMA.”

Yes, an MMA title.

According to Ibarra, Toney is taking this transition as serious as anyone can take it and plans to, one day, contend for a championship strap. Some of the toughest competition in MMA wanders around the UFC’s heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, so a climb to the title will be no easy road for the boxing great.

When asked of what he expects of Toney’s MMA career accomplishments, Juanito knows that his fighter‘s mind frame is one that will serve him well against the UFC competition.

“James Toney is a born fighter …I’d hate to be in an alley with a born fighter.”

With his obvious strength being his stand-up, some question what will become of a fight when Toney is asked to do something out his element. Ibarra feels that Toney will be able to hold his own when he says, “James knows some martial arts because his manager [John Arthur] was a master in martial arts.”

Now comes the time where rumor mills spin and speculation over Toney’s first opponent consumes the collective minds of everyone close to the sport.

No announcements have been made, as of yet, but names like Couture and Kimbo have been tossed around as possibilities. Juanito opened up about who he thinks would be a good match-up for his boxing turned MMA fighter.

“James Toney will fight anybody. It’s up to us to help him figure things out. What I would like to see and what his manager would like to see…Kimbo Slice.

"It makes sense. The weight factor makes sense. Maybe a 220 [lbs.] fight somewhere in there. Two guys who have great names. I would love to see that fight …I think that’s a great opponent …hopefully the UFC would consider something like that.”

The slice is right!

Ibarra made it clear who he thinks his fighter wants to test his MMA waters with.

“He’s said it all over the Internet. He calls him Simba. He says he wanted Simba Slice.”

Apparently, Toney looks at Kimbo as nothing but a cuddly Disney character.

Another topic circulating about Toney and the UFC is at what weight class the world champion boxer would fight at. Heavyweights can be close to 265 lbs. so that may seem a bit too big, even for the solid hands of Toney.

A fighting weight of 205 lbs. seems like the suitable destination for Ibarra’s fighter and he agrees.

“I like it. I think that’s in the plan.”

After a fight with Kimbo, the boxing coach looks ahead and sees what could be a great set up for his fighter’s next bout.

“I’d like to get him down to 205 and fight the winner of a Chuck and Tito. Fights with Kimbo Slice and he goes on to fight the winner of a Chuck and Tito fight …I think it would sell and I think it would be a hell of a fight.”

There has been no word on when and where Toney will have his first fight in the UFC, however, Juanito Ibarra is working hard with his fighter and optimistically sees big things happening in 2010.

“Hopefully they’ll see us fight somewhere, maybe in June. Believe me, as his teacher I’m not going to let him step into the octagon without him being ready …I think we’re gonna shock the world, dude. I believe that.”

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Post #1   3/4/10 1:43:52PM   

grappler0000

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That would be the easy way out for Toney...I'd rather see him fight someone that will challenge him. It would draw some huge numbers though.

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Post #2   3/4/10 2:08:13PM   

AchillesHeel

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Toney signed with the UFC so he could fight a marginal UFC fighter?

Post #3   3/4/10 2:29:59PM   

MaxOne

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Posted by AchillesHeel

Toney signed with the UFC so he could fight a marginal UFC fighter?



for a first fight it makes sense that he'd want kimbo.

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Post #4   3/4/10 2:41:32PM   

bjj1605

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If this is a main draw on a PPV card I won't be buying it. I've bought every card since UFC 47 or something like that, and I would boycott the s*** out of this fight.

Randy Couture would be the best first fight for Toney in my opinion. I also wouldn't mind seeing Cro Cop or Pat Barry. But not kimbo slice. Please Tony, don't make a mockery out of what has the potential to be a huge signing.

Post #5   3/4/10 3:27:19PM   

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If i were Dana theres no way id put 2 huge draws like kimbo and toney in a fight together, where you effectively halt the momentum of one of your biggest draws.

You could give toney a fight against Mccully and it would still do good numbers, and not leave you screwed in the long run.

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Post #6   3/4/10 4:04:05PM   

sbulldavid

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I think it's a pretty logical fight, I think I would pick Toney in a lot of fights, but we'll have to wait and see what he's capable of off his back, I don't know that anybody is really scared to stand with him, but he is known to have an exceptional chin. I'll be watching.

Post #7   3/4/10 4:08:26PM   

RandyCouture

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Prob not gonna happen dana said he doesnt wanna make tony a freak show like elitexc so i just dont see it happening. They will prob give him somebody like pat barry, gonzagga, or couture I figure.

Post #8   3/4/10 4:47:32PM   

sbulldavid

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I highly doubt Gonzaga but there are plenty of decent fighters for him to fight, I would bank on Kongo, or Barry, just to see how he reacts to kicks and to see if he can compete.

Post #9   3/4/10 7:26:10PM   

State_Champ

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Posted by sbulldavid

I highly doubt Gonzaga but there are plenty of decent fighters for him to fight, I would bank on Kongo, or Barry, just to see how he reacts to kicks and to see if he can compete.



Oh, he know all about the "side-check-kick".

Post #10   3/4/10 7:42:38PM   

Jesse_Canadian_MMA

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def taking the easy way out, i thought he wanted to prove that mma couldnt beat boxing, fighting a street fighter turned rookie mixed martial artist isnt going to prove anything.
I say he fights Couture maybe Pat Barry

Post #11   3/4/10 11:59:03PM   

prozacnation1978

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i think he will face slice

ufc.com just pulled the slice vs meat head fight off the fight card
might be indication of a possible slice vs toney match

meathead will probably still fight on card against maybe mcsweeney or someone else like a joey beltran

i do see slice beating toney by some ground n pound

Post #12   3/5/10 1:50:50AM