He’s one of the most consistent champions in the UFC. In an era of super fights and weight-class jumping, Tyron Woodley seems like the type of fighter that would command respect.
But that didn’t stop his boss, UFC president Dana White, from saying the welterweight champion was full of it during an interview.
White said: “[Woodley] is full of sh*t. That fight was never made, you couldn’t be more wrong, he couldn’t be more full of sh*t, and its absolutely not true. It’s so not true that our lawyer hit him up today and said he needs to stop saying these kind of things, because it’s absolutely not true.”
The fight White is referring to was a rumored bout between Woodley and Nate Diaz, which the champ said was likelier than most people thought when he returned from injury.
Woodley didn’t take too kindly to those words, saying he only meant the fight was a possibility and never explicitly stating the agreement had been signed. He said the statement made him seem like a liar, and was harsh, especially considering Woodley is a champion.
He has a point – if a titleholder couldn’t command respect from his boss in the world’s premiere MMA organization, it could dissuade new fighters from joining the roster to chase the title.
Woodley was also critical of how fighters with poor sportsmanship who talked trash and made obscene gestures seemed to make more money and receive better treatment.
Even Diaz said the Woodley fight was his best option, but White never mentioned those comments when he responded to Woodley. Woodley says he wants an opponent with a big name next. The promotion, however, seems to want a bout between Woodley and Rafael dos Anjos (RDA), who is coming off a victory over the former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.
Despite not having the biggest name, RDA is a tough fighter. He’s already won the lightweight title previously, meaning he could become just the fifth man in history to win UFC titles in two different weight classes should he defeat Woodley. Woodley said he hadn’t been offered the fight yet but would accept it.
Woodley’s case for a big-name fight is valid. He cited the UFC’s history of handing out title shots and putting together fights in situations that didn’t make the most sense from a rankings perspective. Nick Diaz got a shot at Georges St.-Pierre’s welterweight title when he was coming off a loss. St.-Pierre himself came off a four-year layoff and got a title fight in his middleweight debut.
Woodley is 18-3-1 in his pro MMA career, last coming off a decision win over Demian Maia at UFC 214. After winning the title from Lawler at UFC 201, Woodley retained it after fighting Stephen Thompson to a draw, then successfully defended in a rematch, winning by majority decision.
With champions jumping weight classes and even jumping sports in search of marquee fights, Woodley may be right that he’s getting unfair treatment for trying to follow the trend the UFC has set.