UFC hall of famer Randy Couture and former professional boxing champion James Toney, arms at their sides, stared coldly at one another in front of a few thousand fans. They did not shake hands.
Couture tipped the scales at 220 pounds for his showdown with Toney (237) in the UFC 118 “Edgar vs. Penn 2” co-main event on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston. The eight other men slated for main card duty -- including the headliners, lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (154) and former titleholder B.J. Penn (154) -- also met their contracted weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in.
Couture, 47, has not competed since he submitted fellow hall of famer Mark Coleman at UFC 109 in February. He has won back-to-back fights since his unanimous decision loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a year ago in Portland, Ore. One of the sport’s most accomplished fighters, he owns victories against seven former UFC champions: Coleman, Vitor Belfort (twice), Maurice Smith, Kevin Randleman, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Tim Sylvia.
The 42-year-old Toney has never before competed in mixed martial arts. He owns a 72-6-3 mark as a professional boxer, having won championships in multiple weight classes. A Grand Rapids, Mich., native, Toney was undefeated through his first 46 fights. All six of his defeats have come by decision.
Edgar will carry a four-fight winning streak into the event. The 28-year-old Toms River, N.J., native upset Penn by unanimous decision at UFC 112 in April and holds other notable victories against former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts standout Tyson Griffin and one-time World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titleholder Hermes Franca. The once-beaten Edgar now trains alongside former middleweight King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida. In 13 professional bouts, he has never been finished.
Based in Hilo, Hawaii, Penn remains one of only two men -- Couture is the other -- to hold UFC titles in two weight divisions. A potent stand-up fighter and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, the 31-year-old has secured 12 of his 15 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. His loss to Edgar was his first as a lightweight in more than eight years. Victories against UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes, former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder Takanori Gomi, two-time UFC title contender Kenny Florian and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez anchor his resume.
UFC 118 -- which also features a lightweight duel pitting two-time tile contender Kenny Florian (156) against the unbeaten Gray Maynard (156), a middleweight tilt pairing Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia (184) with Mario Miranda (185) and a welterweight matchup between “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz (171) and Marcus Davis (170) -- will air live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. An hour prior, Spike TV will carry a pair of fights from the undercard: Andre Winner (154) vs. Nik Lentz (155) and Joe Lauzon (156) vs. Gabe Ruediger (155).
UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2
Saturday, Aug. 28
UFC Lightweight Championship
Frankie Edgar (154) vs. B.J. Penn (154)
Randy Couture (220) vs. James Toney (237)
Kenny Florian (156) vs. Gray Maynard (156)
Nate Diaz (171) vs. Marcus Davis (170)
Demian Maia (184) vs. Mario Miranda (185)
Joe Lauzon (156) vs. Gabe Ruediger (155)
Andre Winner (154) vs. Nik Lentz (155)
Dan Miller (185) vs. John Salter (185)
Nick Osipczak (171) vs. Greg Soto (170)
Mike Pierce (171) vs. Amilcar Alves (171)