Inconsistency has plagued 145-pound veteran Tyler “Thunder” Toner over the last several years.
Since making his WEC debut in 2010 until last year, Toner had gone 4-5. So coming into 2014, he was in need of a spark.
Toner got that spark making his Fight to Win debut in January, as he picked up a unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Jimenez. With the victory, Toner feels he’s back on track and ready to make a run in 2014.
“It was a fun, exciting fight,” said Toner. “(Jimenez) came to scrap for sure. It’s the kind of fight I want to be in. I always try to start the year trying to be busy, so I was happy to get a fight and win early in the year.”
Toner told MMAWeekly.com that the key to finding consistency could be more prep time, as he did not get in the amount of work he’d like to have for previous fights of late.
“I wouldn’t say I’m picking my fights a little bit better, but at least with these two fights this year, I’ve had a couple weeks to prepare for [them], so that gives me a little bit more of an advantage than it did at the end of last year,” he said.
Toner’s (15-6) second fight of 2014 will mark his return to the RFA, when he faces off against Brazilian grappler Daniel “The Snake” Aguiar (9-3) on April 11 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
“It’s an interesting match-up and will be one of those classic style versus style ones,” said Toner. “(Aguiar) doesn’t look super-dangerous on the feet nor does it look like he has great wrestling, but he has incredible jiu-jitsu.
“He’s pretty exciting fighter, with almost all of his wins via first-round submission, so I expect him to come out trying to go for submissions right away. I think if I can keep it on the feet it will definitely be an advantage to me, but it’s just a matter of whether or not I can do that.”
Now in his ninth year of MMA, Toner feels like his career is winding down, but it’s not over yet, as he looks to make one final run at the biggest stage of the sport before all is said and done.
“It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when I was stepping into the ring for the first time,” said Toner. “I still get the same pre-fight jitters and it’s all pretty much the same, so it’s crazy to look back and see I’ve been at this for nine years.
“At this point in my career, I’m just trying to rack up a couple good wins and get another shot at the UFC. My career is winding down a little bit, but right now I’m the best fighter I have been and I’m not looking at the end just yet.”