After two very smartly fought title defending performances, a necessary shoulder surgery led to the brief break of about a year for the UFC’s welterweight champion. Once he returned, it was time to remind all the doubters how skilled that he truly is. And he did just that.
Of course, the champion in reference is “The Chosen One” Tyron Woodley. Despite those two title defenses that followed his draw with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in their first encounter, fans and pundits alike still didn’t seem all too sold on the reigning champion. It just further showed going into his recent defense against Darren Till as Woodley was once again the betting underdog.
But as the fight started, it quickly became evident that that was very far from the truth.
The champion would dispatch of the challenger with ease on route to a second-round submission victory via d’arce choke as Woodley would end up outstriking Till 74 to 1 with a knockdown in the process.
Which now leaves many appreciating Woodley much more than they did before and thinking that maybe they should have been doing so all along…and rightfully so.
But with challengers beginning to get limited as seemingly there are only two left in Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman, what could take Woodley to the next level of greatness? A showdown with the greatest 170-pounder in Georges St-Pierre wouldn’t at all hurt…but there’s also someone that he could fight for a second time that has already gotten the better of Woodley and continues to reign supreme in MMA in their own right.
And because of that, it’s time to make another prayer to the MMA gods!
Woodley hasn’t lost a fight since June 2014 where he was handed his third career defeat by the future Bellator champion, Rory “The Red King” MacDonald.
Both men have firmly established themselves as the two best welterweight fighters in the world and continue to do so. Having had their first fight in just a three rounder…now having grown and gotten plenty of championship experience, a rematch would be simply awesome.
If you’re new to the Dear MMA Gods series, then I’ll just throw in a quick note here. Yes, we’re aware that this fight is unlikely…probably anytime soon. But that’s the whole point! We’re reaching out to the holy overseers to make it happen!
Anyway, the intrigue for this rematch has only built over the years and fans still debate on who would beat who if they fought again. Having one of the highest fight IQs in all of MMA, Woodley would surely make some big adjustments. But MacDonald too is a very, very smart fighter and is so much so that he was able to puzzle and stifle Woodley for most of their fight on the feet with his mixed yet steady pressure attack. Add in the wrestling threat and MacDonald is just a tough overall matchup for the UFC king no matter how you spin it.
Since then, Woodley has even acknowledged that MacDonald would probably still be his hardest challenge at welterweight. And admitting that is telling of how much more focused and determined he would be to get that loss back.
Especially with those two extra rounds, it makes things so much more compelling. At about the three-minute mark of the third round in their first bout, MacDonald hit a takedown on Woodley (actually the last time that he’s been taken down) and kept him there for the remainder of the fight. Seeing how he would have responded to that in a following round would have been very interesting.
Even as that round started, Woodley came out a lot more aggressive than we’re used to seeing as he was trying to make something happen after dropping the first two rounds. The dynamic would be so much different now or in a matter of years to come.
Both men seem content with their current organizations, one possibly more so than the other…and because of that, the fight’s best chance to happen will be in Bellator. But with the 36-year old Woodley getting older and finding new ways to keep himself busy outside of the fight world, who knows for how much longer he’ll be around. Not to say that he’s close to retirement, but you never know.
Meanwhile, MacDonald is looking to capture the middleweight title at the end of this month by defeating Gegard Mousasi. Imagine if he pulls that off…then the interest in a Woodley rematch for Woodley would probably only get stronger. Somehow, some way…please let us see them meet again, MMA gods.
Woodley vs MacDonald 2 chance of happening: 5%
Check out the previous Dear MMA Gods’ here: 1. Can we get an Iron-Highlight one day?, 2. It’s not too late for the WEC super fight, 3. The true time for Affliction is now…, 4. We need to see Cyborg’s toughest test, 5. Let’s see how mighty this mouse really is
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/17/2018