December was supposed to cap off a banner year for Colorado 145-pound up and comer Tyler Toner.
After a no contest in January, he won two straight fights in Ring of Fire, capturing the eye of the WEC in the process, leading to what was going to be his debut for the promotion in December.
That’s where things derailed.
As Toner recalled to MMAWeekly.com, “I had just finished all my medicals and it was a week before the day of the fight. I got a call from the athletic commission that said they weren’t going to clear me to fight because my eyesight was too poor.”
Ironically the issue had been something Toner was going to address after his WEC debut, but fate intervened, and after finally having corrective PRK surgery on his eyes, he’s ready to finally step into the WEC cage on April 24.
“I was a little nervous after that last one, a little worried that something might happen or it might not go through, but I’m glad that it’s back on and I’m definitely excited for the opportunity,” commented Toner.
“I learned to not take it for granted if the fight will go through or not. So far, so good; I’m assuming everything’s 100-percent and ready to go.”
Toner’s opponent in Sacramento, Calif., will be the same fighter he was supposed to face in December, Brandon Visher.
“In December he fought my replacement, Courtney Buck, and looked good,” said Toner. “He looks like the same thing I’ve said all along: he’s got quick hands, powerful hands, and is pretty athletic. But I think he’s one-dimensional, so hopefully I can expose that.”
For Toner, his game plan remains the same as it would have been in December and nearly every fight prior.
“I feel very comfortable standing or on the ground,” he stated. “I’ve finished almost all my fights. I’m always looking to end it. That will definitely make it exciting on April 24.”
Recent WEC history has seen fighters such as Ben Henderson, Leonard Garcia, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone make fast strides with impressive performances.
When asked if he feels he could follow in their fast-tracked footsteps, Toner replied, “It’s always a possibility, depending on how I perform.
“I think the WEC’s roster at 145 is so deep that it’s going to be harder to work my way up to a title shot (so quickly). I doubt anybody’s going to be impressive enough to come in, have one or two fights and get a shot. But we’ll see; there’s always a possibility.”
After sitting out the last four months, Toner is eager to prove himself.
“I definitely want to fight a lot,” he stated. “Hopefully this fight goes well and I come out of it without any injuries and I can jump right back in there.
“I’ll fight whoever they tell me to fight. I feel I’m still definitely growing as a fighter and have a lot of room to improve. I just want to keep getting better, work my way up, and end up the champ some day.”
With his vision corrected, Toner can now focus on making the strides necessary to earn a coveted title shot in one of MMA’s premier divisions.
“Big thanks to my coaches, teammates, MTX Audio, Icon Lasik, Rupture Fight Wear, and Performance MMA,” he said in closing. “Hopefully I win and get everybody’s support. I’m hoping to make some new fans on April 24.”