A few weeks ago a rumor started doing the rounds that Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal had been submitted by James Toney during training for the boxers MMA debut against Randy Couture.
Last week King Mo talked about the moment on the MMAJunkie radio show Apparently he had been working on Toney’s takedown defense when the boxer managed to catch him in a standing guillotine choke.
“After about eight tries, he kind of got me,” Lawal admits. “I said, ‘Damn.’ He’s kind of strong, too. The dude is kind of strong.”
Now another of Toney’s training partners, former UFC fighter and world-class BJJ practitioner Dean Lister has also declared that Toney gave him some problems in training.
“He learns really fast. I mean of course his striking is unparalleled, but I tell you what, for a big guy, he moves fast,” Lister tells FightHype. “He’s not all fancy with things yet and he’s not the most technical guy on the ground, but he’s so strong man. He is a strong guy.”
“What happened was, I was trying to pass his guard. He didn’t pull guard or anything like that. I’m not going to say how we got to the ground because I don’t want to give anything that he’s trying to do away. We were going over a few things and I passed his guard and I got a mount and he turned and like grabbed my foot. I’m lucky he didn’t break it.”
Lister confesses he wasn’t sure exactly what Toney was doing though.
“He landed like a toe-hold and I didn’t really get to see exactly what he was doing because my back was turned, but he twisted it pretty good. I had to roll out of it, so I don’t know if I should count that as a submission or not, but I was impressed.”
So both Lister and King Mo have done their best to hype up Toney’s abilities, but with the sum total of his grappling achievements so far appearing to be that he once “kind of” had King Mo in a guillotine, and sort of twisted one of Lister’s feet, it’s unlikely that Couture will be quaking in his boots.
Bear in mind that despite ultimately losing on the judges scorecards to BJJ expert Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira last year, Couture showed excellent submission defense throughout.
What’s more telling is that King Mo admits to being able to take down Toney with relative ease, and Lister had no trouble passing his guard and getting the mount.
In the end Toney’s key to victory still lies in connecting his fists with Couture’s weakened chin when the two men meet at UFC 118 on August 28th.