Getting a win in his last fight this past August against J.R. Sims was important on many levels for former WEC/UFC featherweight Tyler “Thunder” Toner.
Coming nine months after his previous fight, it allowed Toner to get back into the swing of things and right the ship after what was arguably a career low.
“I think I had a little bit of ring rust, felt a little stiff in there, and ended up getting beat up for two rounds,” he said. “The guy was super-athletic and it was hard getting my timing down. It all kind of came together in the third round and I ended up getting the finish, so it was a good fight for me.
“Before that I had two losses in a row and that’d never happened to me before. Especially with the long layoff, that kind of plays with your head a little. Mentally, I was just kind of down and questioning my abilities, so it was good to go out there and get a win.”
Thankfully Toner won’t have to wait such a long time to get back into the cage. He returns to headline Ring of Fire 42 Saturday night in Broomfield, Colo., against Nick Macias.
“He fought (and beat) one of my training partners, Josh Ford, in his last fight, but I think I think I’m a lot tougher stylistic match-up for him,” said Toner. “We are similar fighters, but I think my stand-up is better than his and my submissions are better than his, so I’ll be able to get a finish.”
While Toner admits he’s willing to take a lump or two in order to make things go his way in a fight, he thinks Macias’ aggressive nature will allow for openings to happen more naturally to be exploited.
“I don’t know if I’m necessarily patient because I’m always looking for a finish, but sometimes that puts me on bottom for a round and I’ll lose the round because of it,” said Toner.
“From what I’ve seen, he’s not a lay and prey fighter, he goes for the win; and those fights are always better for me. I go out there to fight, not to win a decision. I think fighters that do that fit into my game plan also a little bit.”
After a disappointing 1-2 run in Zuffa’s promotions, Toner told MMAWeekly.com that while he’d like to eventually get back there, he’s more focused on rebuilding himself one step at a time rather than potentially trip up while looking too far ahead.
“I don’t want to set too many long-term goals,” he said. “I just want to take it one fight at a time and get wins.
“In Ring of Fighter, they never give me easy fights. Everyone I face is really tough, so I want to make sure I’m not looking past anybody. I know Macias will be tough Saturday night; and I’m sure if I get another fight in ROF before I return to the UFC, I’m sure they’ll be tough too. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t overlook anybody and take it one fight at a time.”