It’s becoming much more clear that being an excellent fighter isn’t the only trait you need to be a superstar in mixed martial arts.
UFC featherweight Conor McGregor has captured the interest of millions and has broken UFC records with the help of his memorable quotes and actions, building up his fights against his opponents only to back up all his talk, in nearly all of his fights.
BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor recently spoke with UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on a new episode of BJPenn.com’s Rapid Fire about various topics from the double standards of MMA fans to training for his first title defense against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson coming up at UFC 205 in New York on November 12.
Another interesting subject that came up during their conversation was regarding how fighters act or present themselves in front of the media versus when they are amongst fellow fighters and the cameras are off. Taylor touched on the fact that Donald Cerrone has been pretty vocal about Conor McGregor not being the same person backstage. He asked Woodley if he felt the same from his backstage experiences with the Irish star.
“I respect Conor as a businessman. I respect Conor as a fighter,” Woodley said. “And that is all it is, it is a business of fighting. So those are the two areas that he has my respect in.
“When Conor first came out he did not have my respect,” Woodley admitted. “He had not beaten anybody yet and he was talking this big game. So I was like, ‘Who the hell is this kid that just fought Marcus Brimage’ or whatever. He just had not had the high caliber fights yet to be talking that big game. But now he is in that position where he has made everybody pay attention. He has made everybody want to watch him win or lose.
“I have never had a bad experience with Conor,” Woodley added. “I have bumped into him a couple times and it is always like, ‘let’s grab a picture’ or something. Granted I have never been at his weight or someone he has said something to on the internet. So I have not had any negative experiences with him.
“He took a shot at people asking for money fights but he has never said anything specifically directed at me.”
Woodley went on to recall that “Cowboy” himself is guilty of talking it up just for the media.
“But you know what? Cowboy is like that too, though,” Woodley stated. “It is funny you brought that up. When he (Cerrone) was about to fight Anthony (Pettis) he was talking all this shit, then he comes up and like wants to shake his hand and tells Pettis, ‘let’s have fight of the night’ and I remember Anthony was like, ‘Hell no! You want to talk all this shit? You will get beat up now!’
“So I mean Cerrone has been like that as well. It is just the nature of the game. Fighters say what they think people want to hear sometimes.”