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.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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