UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is hoping to cash in on a “money fight” in his next octagon appearance and in my opinion he deserves it.
Since capturing the UFC welterweight title by destroying Robbie Lawler with a first-round knockout at UFC 201 in July of 2016, “The Chosen One” has proceeded to defend his title on three occasions against the welterweight divisions top contenders.
In his first title defense, Woodley would take on top ranked welterweight contender Stephen Thompson. “Wonderboy” entered the contest, which took place at UFC 205 in November of 2016, on a seven-fight win streak which included four knockouts victories.
After twenty-five minutes of back and forth action the Thompson vs. Woodley bout was ruled a majority draw. Two of the judges in attendance scored the bout a draw, while the third judge had given Woodley the nod for his five-round battle with “Wonderboy” which was later given “Fight of the night” honors.
Following the conclusion of the UFC 205 fight card in New York, UFC President Dana White announced that the promotion would be booking an immediate rematch between Thompson and Woodley for early 2017.
The Thompson vs. Woodley 2 fight would take place at March’s UFC 209 event in Las Vegas. Just like in their first encounter, “The Chosen One” and “Wonderboy” would go to battle for the full twenty-five minutes in their rematch, but this time Woodley would emerge victorious by way of majority decision.
With his feud with “Wonderboy” finally behind him, Woodley was then pitted against feared submission specialist Demian Maia for his next title defense.
Like Thompson before him, Maia was the welterweight divisions clear top contender and entered his title fight with Woodley on a seven-fight win streak, which included three submission finishes.
Despite Maia’s recent success, the Brazilian submission specialist proved to be no match for Woodley, who despite being injured in the fights opening round went on to win a lopsided unanimous decision at UFC 214.
Maia would attempt over twenty takedowns in his fight with “T-Wood”, but Woodley denied every single shot while leaving Demian bloodied and bruised for his efforts.
After disposing of the UFC’s top welterweight contenders in Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, Robbie Lawler and even Kelvin Gastelum in his most recent performances, Woodley still faced a ton of criticism when he requested that his next octagon appearance come against a big draw like Georges St-Pierre, Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz.
It was really a head scratching moment for me as both a fan and analyst of the sport. How could fans be upset by Woodley’s desire to have a “money fight” in his next octagon appearance? After all, Woodley had just defeated the top five welterweights in the division and remained incredibly active for the promotion by fighting four times in the last twelve months.
I instantly compared the situation to that of Michael Bisping, who at the time was the UFC middleweight champion of the world. Bisping had shocked the mixed martial arts universe at UFC 199 when he defeated Luke Rockhold via first-round knockout to capture the UFC’s coveted middleweight belt.
From there, Bisping did anything BUT fight the middleweight divisions top contenders. “The Count” would instead have his first title defense come against Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in Manchester. Although Dan Henderson is obviously a mixed martial arts legend, he was ranked outside of the top ten in the division at the time and really didn’t warrant a title shot.
After narrowly defeating “Hendo” in his backyard of England, Bisping would then sit out almost a full year in favor of having his next title defense come against former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, a man who had never even competed at 185-pounds but would result in a lucrative payday (money fight).
That is not to say that Bisping did not face a ton of criticism for his actions from fans and fellow fighters, but the UFC and it’s President Dana White never seemed to treat Bisping with the same disrespect that they have with Woodley.
The brash UFC boss recently claimed Tyron Woodley was full of crap, this after “The Chosen One” revealed that his next fight would likely come against Nate Diaz.
Nate Diaz echoed Woodley’s recent statements when he said that a fight with “T-Wood” made the most sense for his octagon return.
Obviously welterweight is one of the most talented stacked divisions in the UFC. With that said, the 170-pound weight class is currently without a confirmed top contender.
Surging welterweight contenders Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington immediately come to mind as fighters who should be next in line for a shot at Woodley’s belt, but does one really deserve it more than the other?
Covington is coming off an impressive decision victory over Demian Maia, while “RDA” recently beat up Robbie Lawler for twenty-five straight minutes at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg.
So why not have those men (Covington and Dos Anjos) fight each other to determine a clear top contender while giving Woodley his opportunity to fight a big draw?
All one should really have to do is look at Woodley’s 5-0-1 record over his past six fights as well as his impressive career resume which includes wins over Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler, Kelvin Gastelum, Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck and Dong Hyun Kim to realize he deserves this opportunity.
Whether it be against Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Georges St-Pierre or even lightweight champion Conor McGregor, I believe that Tyron Woodley has not only earned but deserves a chance at a “money fight”.