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.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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