With just under two months until UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and UFC welterweight #1 contender Stephen Thompson step into the Octagon in the main event of UFC 209, ‘Wonderboy’ has a message for ‘The Chosen One’: Focus on the fight.
Stephen Thompson spoke to ESPN to explain why he hopes the champ is 100% focused on the fight, because he wants to face the best version of Woodley.
Woodley recently explained in an interview that since winning the UFC championship at UFC 201 by KOing Robbie Lawler in the very first round, he has been the most mistreated champion in the history of the promotion. Woodley also went on to explain that race plays a factor in popularity in MMA, with many people quick to turn on Jon Jones when he faced troubles outside of the Octagon. In addition, Woodley believes that the reason pound for pound kingpin Demetrious Johnson doesn’t get the push he deserves is because of his race.
“Who’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now? [Flyweight] Demetrious Johnson,” Woodley said. “Why doesn’t he have the best endorsements? Why is he not making the most money?
“The second [former light heavyweight champion] Jon Jones slips on a banana peel — granted, he’s his own worst enemy — but they can’t wait to throw him under the bus.”
Stephen Thompson responded, explaining:
“Jon Jones, one of the biggest stars in the UFC at the time. Anderson Silva. … He’s the GOAT. I’m looking at these fighters, and to me, (they) haven’t been treated any differently.
“But I haven’t seen (Woodley’s) side. I haven’t been around him, and haven’t seen what’s going on with the UFC. But who doesn’t know Tyron?”
“I’m looking at Tyron saying, ‘Focus on the fight. Just focus on the fight. Don’t worry about all this other stuff until after,’” he said. “Because I want to fight the best Tyron Woodley.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/20/2017.