Returning to my roots at Lion Fight 16.

I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I can clearly remember watching in awe as Royce Gracie worked his way through the UFC 1 tournament, submitting superhuman looking dudes twice his size. Years later, when I first began training Jiu-Jitsu at the Easton Training Center in Boulder (then simply called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Boulder), I can remember one of my coaches, Jay Jack, claiming that “Jiu-Jitsu is the closest thing to magic you will find in a street fight”. That was proven true time and time again in college every time I had to get into an altercation working as a bouncer. Takedown, mount, take the back, choke. It was effortless, and I very rarely ever had to even throw a punch. It really is an incredible art, and I can see myself training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the rest of my life.

Now, years before I saw Royce Gracie win UFC 1, I remember that same since of awe when I got my first taste of Muay Thai. I, like many others, was first introduced to the art by none other than Jean Claude Van Damme. I wanted to learn Muay Thai the second I laid eyes on Tong Po, the villain in the movie “Kickboxer”.

Tong Po

I was never really the type of guy to cheer for a villain in a movie, but Tong Po was about the baddest thing I had ever seen up to that point. There is a scene in the movie where Tong Po warms up for one of his fights by kicking a concrete pillar in his dressing room. I was hooked at that point. I think I went to my bedroom to kick the post of my bed with my shin, which inevitably left me on the floor crying.

Regardless, Muay Thai was really my first love. Although I’ve spent 95% of my career fighting MMA, I’ve always had a bit more of an affinity for the standup game. I always picked up the standup techniques easier, and really, I always thought it was more fun.

So, that said, on July 4, I will be returning to my first love at the Lion Fight 16 card in Las Vegas. This will be my first Muay Thai match since June of 2009 (vs. Kenichi Ogata in Tokyo). I will be fighting Peru’s Gaston Bolanos, teammate of American Muay Thai standout Kevin Ross (who will be headlining the card). Bolanos has quite a bit of experience, amassing a very impressive 24-3 record in his career.

Lion Fight 16

I will be the first fight on the televised card, featured on AXS TV at 7:00pm Mountain Time. Put your fireworks away for a second, grab your American Flag Budweiser can, and watch me represent for America for 15 minutes.

Thunder vs. The Snake This Friday

I’ve always complained about being sidelined too long in between fights. Here’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time — two fights in a row, without a bunch of ring rust in between.

This Friday, April 11, I’ll be stepping back into the cage on the RFA 14 show in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I’m psyched to be able to get 2 fights in this early in the year, and my wife is pissed because I’m going to spend all my money on fireworks. That’s what you do in Wyoming, right?

Anyway, I’m fighting Daniel “The Snake” Aguiar, who appears to be a slimmer, more cheery, featherweight version of Rousimar Palhares. With 9 first round submissions to his credit and a black belt from Renzo Gracie, it’s safe to say he is no slouch on the ground. I’m shooting for victory via berimbolo to twister, or perhaps a Peruvian necktie from the back. Keep an eye out for those two.

Tyler Toner vs. Daniel Aguiar

Here’s a link to my interview with The MMA Corner.

And to my recent interview with MMAWeekly.

And finally to my radio interview with ProMMANow.

See you guys on Friday. The fight will be aired on AXS TV at 8:00pm MST. I’m off to go enjoy some lettuce with distilled water dressing. 145lbs, here I come.

PFC 5 Fight Video

Here’s the video from my fight last Friday. Check it!