On July 29, in the co-main event of UFC 214, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will attempt to defend his title for a third time opposite Brazilian grappling wizard Demian Maia.
Because this fight was just made official last week, there has been widespread speculation that Maia has been short-changed on time to prepare for this rapidly approaching challenge. According to Woodley, however, there’s no reason to feel bad for Maia.
The champ broke it down on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio.
“I don’t feel bad for Demian Maia,” he said. “You get opportunities for the belt, and you’ve got to take them. Michael Bisping’s the champion now because he took that opportunity [for a short notice title shot against Luke Rockhold]. Nate Diaz is a superstar now because he took that initial opportunity to fight Conor McGregor. Sometimes, myself included, we forget that we should be training, we should be in a position to go out and do our job whenever the work presents itself.”
“It’s tough to train, 100%, year-round, but it is kind of our job if you really think about it,” he said. “All the seminars, appearances, international fight week, that’s all secondary. If I had the opportunity to do a big film or fight for a world title, I’m going to take the world title because right now, this is my priority. Everything else is supplemental. This is my money-maker. So I have to be able to train for a fight as fast as I can.”
Woodley said he even explained this feeling to Maia at the UFC athletes retreat, and apologized that he wasn’t willing to fight 20 days later on August 19 as Maia initially hoped.
“I saw him at the athletes retreat,” Woodley explained. “I said ‘hey man, I know you want to fight next, but August 19th isn’t going to work for me. If you’re ready to fight August 19, you can fight 20 days earlier. I know it’s going to be a better day for you, more money and all sorts of stuff. You want more time? We all need time.”
“He’s a 39 year old martial artist, he’s been around the game for a long time.”
What do you think of this assessment from Tyron Woodley?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/6/2017.