By: Chris Taylor (Kalapaki Joe’s Staff Writer)
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley scored a majority decision victory over Stephen Thompson at last month’s UFC 209 event in Las Vegas, thus retaining his 170-pound strap.
“I’ve got another movie that I am doing. I will do that one and then I am going to have to start turning down things because my gut tells me that I will fighting again in July.”
Taylor asked Woodley if he was hoping to return to the octagon at UFC 213 which takes place July 8 during International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
“Yea for sure. You know the UFC doesn’t have that many stars. They have a lot of great fighters, but as far as actual stars there is not very many of them in the UFC. So with that said, I think that I am one of the guys that is right on the cusp of breaking through and becoming that star. And I think the UFC will put their heavy hitters on that card (UFC 213). I don’t know exactly what they (the UFC) have planned but I talked to Dana (White) not to long ago and he asked me when I want to fight and I told him that I want to fight then (July 8). So with that said, I think that is going to be a go. That is what we are shooting for.”
Woodley discussed the potential opponents for his next fight and whether or not his next fight will involve defending his welterweight strap.
“An opponent is not really defined. There is some welterweight bouts going on, but man it is a crazy sport right now. I don’t really feel confined to just fighting the number one contender. I am not going to be the only weight class in the UFC that has to stay true to that old rule set. When everyone is showing us that, you know, that the game is really wide open for giving the fans the fights they want to see.”
Taylor asked which opponents, if any, Woodley was eyeing for his next fight.
“You know UFC 205 was a huge pay-per-view event for me. Why would I not try and produce a fight with (Michael) Bisping or Nick or Nate Diaz, Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor. Those guys are my first options right now.”
Woodley clarified that he is not worried about “money fights” but instead cementing his legacy as the greatest welterweight of all time. If he gets rich by doing so, that is just an added bonus.
“This is the thing. I am not just going for money fights. A lot of guys are going for money fights. A lot of guys want to fight the best 1 or 2 to prove they are the best in the world. And maybe some guys who aren’t champions are just trying to get the right fights to get to the belt. That is all it is. I am at the belt. I am at a point where I am greedy man. I want the fight that is going to cement me as the legend, the greatest of all time. There is two guys right now, where if I could beat those two guys I am then the greatest welterweight of all time. If I can beat Nick Diaz. If I can beat Georges St-Pierre, then nobody can say I am not the best welterweight fighter to ever step in the octagon. It would make me better than Georges (St-Pierre), better than Matt Hughes. I would be the best of all time. So those two fights just so happen to also be potentially huge pay-per-view fights. So obviously those are my number one options.”
“Nick Diaz knows that I respect him. More importantly I respect how he was in the sport when the money wasn’t the same. You know he hasn’t gotten that big payday like his baby brother (Nate Diaz) yet. I personally think he deserves that. You know he has had those crazy fights. Had the concussions. Had the cuts on his eyes. Fought so many times. Three or four fights a year usually. He helped build this sport. So at the end of the day I feel like somebody like that (Nick Diaz) should be rewarded for those previous fights and have a chance to make a big pay-per-view payday. As for Georges St-Pierre, I don’t think he wants to fight me. I don’t think he wants to come back and fight a guy like me. One of the reasons he left (Georges St-Pierre) was because he was worried about concussions. With Bisping he doesn’t have to worry about that as much. With me, he knows I am coming to knock him out. Plus I am very hard to takedown and would probably end up taking him down. So he’s not used to that style of matchup. The only guy who was kind of like me was Johny Hendricks and he made Georges go crawl in a cave for three years.”
Who would you like to see Tyron Woodley fight at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas?