Duke Roufus on Woodley vs. Thompson: “It Reminds Me of Ali-Frazier 1”

Tyron Woodley interview

This weekend, in the co-main event of the blockbuster UFC 205, new welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will attempt the first defense of his title against streaking karate specialist Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. In advance of this massive welterweight showdown, Woodley’s current coach Duke Roufus appeared on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour to discuss his student’s looming challenge.

On the show, Roufus was asked for a prediction as to how the match will go, and likened it to a 1971 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The bout, which was the first of three between the two boxing legends, saw Frazier upset Ali with a unanimous decision win. In Roufus’ mind, Woodley will play the part of Frazier.

“It’s the guy that dictates what they wanna do that’s gonna win,” he said. “It’s obvious that Stephen’s going to want to use the perimeter, and Tyron’s gonna want to take the perimeter away from him.”

“You know what, it reminds me of Ali-Frazier 1 actually. And you know ironically, Stephen said the other day that he’s gonna ‘Muhammad Ali’ Tyron. I saw the little quote he put out. Well, you know, on that night if you remember, Ali had that great quote in the fight. He said ‘you’re about to get whipped by god tonight,’ and Frazier goes ‘well god’s about to get his ass kicked tonight.’ And that’s what I see happening.”

Stephen Thompson Johny Hendricks

Roufus then explained that he believes Woodley’s ridiculous speed and power will be a key factor in this fight. According to the famed MMA coach, there’s no way to prepare for his student’s ridiculous physical tools.

“If you haven’t worked with Tyron or fought with him, he has a unique speed from years of athletics – football, track, wrestling – he has a special speed that even when I’m holding mitts or drilling with him, I don’t know when it’s coming. He’s a very hard guy to judge. Even training him, it’s very painful to train him because he hits so explosively. I have to take a week off every training camp just to recoup from the training camp of getting blasted by this guy.”

Who do you think comes out on top in UFC 205’s co-main event? Sound off, PENN Nation!