EXCLUSIVE | Woodley: Koscheck has done what he’s going to do in this sport
The UFC’s “20 Days to UFC 167″ promotional tour that is recognizing its 20th anniversary and upcoming card landed in St. Louis on Tuesday.
The organization spent the bulk of its time following up-and-coming welterweight Tyron Woodley around the Gateway City. Woodley made promotional stops at Rams’ Park to meet with several members of the St. Louis Rams as well as hitting some radio stations later in the afternoon to promote his fight against Josh Koscheck on the main card of UFC 167.
The highlight of the day was a stopover at Woodley’s home base, ATT Evolution. Despite it being in the middle of day during the work week, fans of all ages nearly filled the facility to get pictures, autographs, and ask questions.
BJPENN.COM caught up with Woodley where he talked about his training for UFC 167, Koscheck, and to get some predictions for the card.
Did you stay in St. Louis for this training camp?
“I went to Reign (Training Center) and I went to Wild Card Boxing. I tried to mix it up this time. I got some good looks. I did a ton of sparring. In previous camps I have done a ton of running. In previous camps I have done a ton of wrestling. It’s really just finding that balance and how you divvy up each martial art. I also did a lot of running and a lot of mitt work working on timing and explosiveness. I’ll be ready to roll come next week.”
You are coming off a loss, yet you are on the main card of one of the biggest shows in UFC history. Why do you think that is?
“I think most of the world knew what happened (in the loss to Jake Shields in June). Though I didn’t have a great performance, I don’t think I was defeated in that fight. I think that they know the style matchup and fighting against Josh Koscheck really makes for an exciting fight because of our similarities. We’re the exact height. We have the same reach, which I hate because I’m used to being shorter with longer arms. We both hit hard with a hard right hand. We both can wrestle. We’re both in good shape. We’re very similar and it makes for a great fight and I think that is why they put it on the card.”
You’re similar, but what do you think the difference is between you two?
“He’s done what he’s going to do in this sport. I don’t think he is going to get another opportunity to chop back towards the top. He can go on a tear and rip through some people but I’m not going to be one of them. He’s fought the champ a couple of times and he’s lost to Johny Hendricks. But me, I’m just getting started. I think it’s out with the old and in with the new. This is an opportunity for me to fight a top-level fighter who has been in there against the top guys. He has a lot of victories, a lot of last-minute fights. He’s still a very worthy opponent and it means a lot to beat him because he is still in his prime. He’s not washed up, he’s not ran over, he’s still a worthy guy.”
What is it about his game that you have to be cautious or wary about?
“Spacing. He’s great at a certain range and also backing up. The good thing about this fight is that everything that I need to do as a fighter, from here on out, I’m going to have to do against him. I can’t back up, I can’t wrestle on the cage, I can’t let someone be first. I think, in general, that needs to be my M.O. to my fighting career. He’s the type of fighter that will make me do that. Jake Shields didn’t make me do that. I could have done whatever the hell I wanted to against him. I really wish I would have did more. When I fight guys and they bring me to that level of fighting it comes out. I think we have seen that in the past and hopefully I get to that level and I exceed him.”
Who do you like in MacDonald vs. Lawler?
“I would hope that Robbie wins as a teammate and friend. It depends if the Rory that we’ve seen in the past comes out, he can win that fight. If (Rory) wins it, I would like to fight him. If Robbie wins, he’s going to get a title shot and I’m kind of stingy and I want to be the first ATT guy to the strap. But if (Rory) does win, I would like to fight him because he’s not going to fight GSP and I will.”
And the main event?
“I think Hendricks is going to win.”
Would you like to get the loser?
“Oh yeah. I’d take the loser any day.”
You and Johny have a little bit of a past wrestling each other in college
“Yeah, I’m glad we didn’t fight earlier because I’ve been wanting to kick his butt for so long but now I’m over it. He cost be a Big XXII title awhile ago and now I’m a fan. I was supposed to be in his training camp for him but when they announced the fight I couldn’t train with him.”