Saturday, April 01, 2023  |


Tyron Woodley likes being doubted going into UFC 205

Fighters Network

Even after knocking out Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in July to become the undisputed UFC welterweight champion people are still doubting the skills of Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley.

For evidence, all one has to do is look at the fact that Woodley (16-3, 6 knockouts) enters his first title defense at UFC 205 as a slight underdog against karate practitioner Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-1, 7 KOs). Instead of getting up in arms or taking offense, Woodley takes what could be viewed as a  slight in stride as he focuses on adding Thompson to his growing his legacy.

“That’s been the story of my life, man – I like when people sleep on me because it actually gives me confidence because that means people don’t truly realize what I’m bringing to the table,” Woodley said. “It adds some fuel to me to go out there and prove my training partners and family right; not so much to prove the ‘haters’ wrong. I’m in the final tier of my career and I still have goals, so I’m more focused on achieving them than proving people wrong at this stage of my career.”

The lineup and famed location of UFC 205 is well documented – the fight card takes place at Madison Square Garden (MSG) and it is New York’s formal introduction to MMA and the UFC. One historic anecdote overlooked by most in the media is the fact Woodley will be the first African-American mixed martial artist to walk into the “World’s Most Famous Arena” as champion.

Although the UFC and mixed martial arts is overwhelmingly accepting of fighters no matter their ethnicity or nationality – Woodley is honored and proud to be the first African American to defend his title on one of the biggest stages in combat sports history.

“I’m very proud not only being the first African American to defend his title at MSG but the first male period because of where we are at on the card, and I feel truly blessed,” Woodley said.  “To make history on such a historic card only make things that much better. Because if everyone stays healthy and is blessed to make that walk to the Octagon, where else are you going to see a card with three current champions, four former champions and numerous of current or former title challengers all fighting on the same card at such a historical venue?”

So far Thompson and his unorthodox karate style has plagued the welterweight division in the same way former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida’s style did to the 205-pound division about six years ago. For proof, all one must do is YouTube Thompson’s last two fights against former champion Johny and former title contender Rory MacDonald.

Neither one could figure him on and both suffered long days in the Octagon.

With the mystery of Thompson’s unsolvable karate style as the back drop, how does the current champion plan on doing what no one has done on Nov. 12?  Woodley answered:

“Just like what happened to Machida, it’s only a matter of time before someone solves the ‘Wonderboy’ puzzle and I’m very confident I’m the man with the plan because I know how to control distance and I’m very patient and that’s what it takes.  People like Demian Maia,’Wonderboy’ and Machida are the last of the specialists to thrive in our sport. In today’s game, you have to be a mixed martial artist which is exactly what I am and why I will retain my title at UFC 205.”

Woodley has already shocked the MMA world once this year, and if he has his way, he’ll be doing it again in the “Big Apple” on Nov. 12.