Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley became the new UFC Welterweight Champion with a stunning 1st round knockout of “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler at UFC 201. As the great Chael P Sonnen always says: the moment one fight ends, promotion for the next fight begins.
Woodley wasted no time campaigning for his next assignment, calling out Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre in a post-fight interview on Fox Sports One. For the moment, however, he seems to have shifted his focus away from Diaz in favor of a bout with GSP.
“Nick Diaz is a moron. What I said was, I feel like (he) deserves to cash in on a payday for what’s (he’s) done in the sport, really, giving him credit. He went on TMZ talking all this blah blah…you know what? You just talked yourself out of 7 figures. So what I’ll do, I’ll take the fight that’s gonna pay me more, against an opponent that will appreciate it,” Woodley told RJ Clifford on Sirius XM Fight Club, Tuesday August 2nd.
Hopefully, with that emphatic statement, Woodley has extinguished part of the firestorm that he started mere moments after winning the title. When the concensus number one contender, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson confronted the Champ about a possible showdown, Woodley had some other names in mind. See the video below:
As evidenced by the video, “The Chosen One” deflected the “Wonderboy” callout, instead using the opportunity to declare his desire to fight Nick Diaz. Diaz is but a few days removed from an 18 month suspension, during which time he was unable to compete; and he was not exactly dominating the ranks before that either. Nick Diaz has not won a fight in almost 5 years and is winless across his last 3 outings, posting a record of 0-2-1 NC.
In the week following T-Wood’s incredible 1st round finish, the new Welterweight Champion has made his initial obligatory rounds through the press on Sirius XM, including MMA Junkie Radio, the Luke Thomas Show and Sirius XM Fight Club. The response from in-show callers and social media was overwhelmingly in favor of Woodley vs Wonderboy.
[All of those programs are available ON DEMAND on the Sirius XM App]
Knowing the public consensus, the often outspoken Woodley had no choice but to face those tough questions during each interview. His first attempt to rationalize his lack of interest in fighting Wonderboy was a continuation of what he told Thompson in their post-fight conversation on Fox Sports One, in which Woodley flatly stated, “We all know how the rankings are generated.”
Woodley attempted his best explanation of the ranking system when he told RJ Clifford, “Rankings are done by guys, many of whom don’t follow the sport close enough to even know what the hell they’re talking about.”
While there may be some merit to T-Wood’s analysis of the ranking process, “Wonderboy” Thompson is not an example of someone hand-picked and placed atop the 170 division by a random website media goon. To make such an assertion is not only completely false, the insinuation defies and probably angers the MMA Gods.
“Wonderboy” got to the top of his division by destroying former Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks and by handily defeating recent title challenger Rory MacDonald, who himself defeated Woodley. Rankings be damned, that is what happened and Thompson would be a deserving #1 contender. Uncomfortable scrutiny comes with the Championship territory. Holding the title is similar to grabbing a bull by the horns. Sure, Woodley is the man, and he has control of the bull. But he will soon realize that he is in for the ride of his life.
Woodley seems to have permanently shifted his focus to GSP. When RJ Clifford interviewed Woodley, he asked him point-blank if he had all but given up on Diaz, and the opening quote of this article was the Champ’s response. The follow-up question transitioned the conversation to St Pierre, to which Woodley replied, “He likes that fight. He wants that fight. We want to make that fight happen.” Later Woodley took to his own platform, a podcast he does with his coach, UFC vet Din Thomas called The Morning Wood Show: With Deez Nuts.
Talking with his co-host, Din Thomas, Woodley said, “I’ve already spoken to the linear Champion, the number one Welterweight, pound for pound one of the greatest in the sport. His interest is (in) fighting me. Georges St. Pierre wants to fight me. And guess what? I want to fight him. I’ve had a conversation with Georges St. Pierre. He’s interested in the bout.”
Some radio hosts, like George from MMAJunkieRadio and Brian Stann have even suggested that perhaps Woodley’s mention of Diaz was simply a ruse, a mind game intended for Wonderboy, knowing that he will eventually have to pay the piper and the two are destined to clash regardless. It was also suggested that Diaz may have been a lure, cast out to draw GSP from semi-retirement. It didn’t take long for the former Champion to respond (allegedly), so clearly something is working.
If all were fair and just in the MMA universe, which it never is, the UFC would solidify Woodley vs Thompson by the end of the month. However, if anyone is more suitable to step into the Octagon and challenge for the UFC Welterweight title, his name is Georges St. Pierre.
Arguably the greatest Champion that mixed martial arts has ever known, St. Pierre did not lose the belt prior to his current hiatus. He was not stripped of the title for misconduct or cheating; quite the opposite in fact. GSP took a rare, or even unprecedented road. He reigned in a division that had the deepest talent pool at the time and avenged his only 2 career defeats in the process.
However, the 170lb division no longer revolves around him as it once did. Although it would be a spectacular event to witness his return, whether for one final run at the title, or even a short run with the title, should he capture it. Whatever will happen, the show goes on with or without him. The more time he spends trying to figure out what he wants to do – the less fans will be interested. Apparently he is interested in a return to competition, though that headline has been rehashed for months. It is nothing new. It is time for him to step up or make an official retirement statement, which he never did before relinquishing the title.
If what Tyron Woodley claims is true, the year’s end may see a very unique piece of history that would certainly please millions of fans and contribute a very distinct notch to the legacy and history of the UFC. His final statement on the matter on his recent podcast was, “Mark my words. Me and Georges St. Pierre will be sharing the Octagon, November 12th, 2016 in Madison Square Garden and I will be the best Welterweight on the planet.”
Congratulations Tyron Woodley on a magnificent win and best of luck in your championship reign.
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.
Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.
Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.
At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.
For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.
Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.
Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:
- Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan 125 lbs
- Anna Astvik vs. Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
- Chamia Chabbi vs. Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
- C. McCrudden vs. Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
- Gase Sanita vs. Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
- Yernaz Mussabek vs. Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
- Gamzat Magomedov vs. O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
- Joel Arolainen vs. Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
- V. Andruhovich vs. Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
- Sola Axel vs. Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
- B. Haraldsson vs. Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
- Pavel Pahomenko vs. Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
- Irman Smajic vs. Lev Vins 265 lbs
- Atanas Krastanov vs. Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.
But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.
After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.
The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.
Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.
He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.
In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.
Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.
It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.
Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.
The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.
Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.
Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.
Could Cynthia Calvillo set herself up for a shot at the title in 2018 with a win later this year?
The end of 2017 is fast approaching and we’ve experienced some upsets in some of the recent cards. Not only did we witness three title changes at UFC 217 but we are also missing out on Frankie Edgar’s title shot at UFC 218 and Dominick Cruz being out of UFC 219. This bodes the question, who can finish the year with a triumphant win?
Maybe we’ll leave it to the ladies. Highly touted strawweight prospect Cynthia Calvillo is making waves throughout her division. Calvillo made her pro debut with “Global Knockout” August 27th, 2016 against Jessica Sanchez and got the win with a TKO in round two. She had two more fights in 2016, both of them she came out on top with an undefeated record of 3-0.
Calvillo made her UFC debut March 4th, 2017 just a month after signing her contract to UFC. She won her bout against Amanda “ABC” Cooper in round one with a rear naked choke showing everyone why she deserved to be in the octagon. Calvillo’s pro record now stood at 4-0. Her second UFC bout had her jump straight onto the main card fighting Pearl Gonzalez in which Calvillo dominated the fight and ended Gonzalez with another rear naked choke in round three. Displaying her strong submission game once again.
Not even halfway through 2017 and this prospect has certainly made herself known within the division. Originally from San Jose and fighting out of Sacramento, CA with the renowned Team Alpha Male, it’s no surprise she’s stacking the wins up already. She’s training under some of the best instructors in the business including Urijah Faber and Justin Buchholz, as well as training amongst some of the elite UFC fighters of the moment such as Cody Garbrandt, Darren Elkins, and Teruto Ishihara to name a few. Team Alpha Male is predominantly a male fight team and Calvillo says this has helped her on her way to success, fighting with the guys at Team Alpha Male has made her one tough cookie that’s not to be messed with.
In July 2017 Calvillo fought one of Scotland’s finest, Joanne Calderwood in Calderwood’s home city, Glasgow. Calvillo did not get the finish she wanted, however, did get the decision which put her record at 6-0. Not only did she snap up another win she now ranks at number 7 in her division and this is all within five months which is unheard of. This lady has clearly made herself right at home in the octagon.
While everyone was focusing on the title belt between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Cynthia has been creeping up those ranking and knocking fighters off their pedestals on her way. December 30th sees her fourth fight of the year against Carla Esparza who is currently ranked at number 8 in the division. If Calvillo defeats Esparza and gains another win she will hold a record of 7-0 and the only woman in the top ten of the Strawweight division to stay undefeated.
A win to top off her so far successful 2017 campaign could mean 2018 will be an even bigger year for this fearless fighter. Will anyone be able to stop he in tracks or could we see Calvillo go to the top in 2018?
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