This August 29, in the co-main event of UFC 214, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will attempt to defend his title for the third time opposite Brazilian jiu jitsu cognoscente Demian Maia.
On the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio, Woodley gave his take on this matchup with the talented BJJ specialist, and how he plans to approach the challenge.
“I think it’s a great matchup,” he said. “He’s got 19 victories in the UFC for a reason.”
“I’m trying not to give him too much respect, and to believe in myself,” he continued. “I do have the highest takedown defense in the welterweight division. I do have the second overall. It is very hard to take me down. I am an All-American wrestler with great striking as well. So style-wise, I match up extremely well [with Maia]. His number one way to win this fight would be to get to the ground and try to control me or try to submit me, and just with my boxing and my wrestling, he’s going to have a very hard time getting there.”
While Woodley will have a significant advantage on the feet against Maia, he also explained that he’s not afraid to grapple with the Brazilian talent, and that he might even attempt to take him down if the opportunity presents itself.
“I have no problem taking him down on my own terms, I was actually talking to my coaches about that,” the champ explained. “If you do go down to the ground, you want it to be on your terms. Otherwise, you’re always going to be at the mercy of the defense of the person you’re going against.”
Do you think Tyron Woodley is a skilled enough grappler to hang with Demian Maia on the mat, or would he be wise to try to keep this fight standing?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/6/2017.