Tyron Woodley: Focused on being an MMA great, not race issues
For second time in four months, Tyron Woodley will defend his UFC welterweight title against Stephen “Wounderboy” Thompson at UFC 209, this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
After their controversial draw at UFC 205, Woodley sat down with RingTV.com to give us some insight into his mindset, in and out of the Octagon. After drawing national headlines for bringing attention to how race has played a role into how the UFC markets him, Woodley wanted to clarify a couple things, so the general public can get a better idea of where he’s coming from.
“Everyone has to overcome something in their life, no matter if it’s racism, sexism or it’s because of their religious beliefs,” Woodley said in his exclusive interview with Ring TV.com. “In general, the system in the U.S. is set up to bash people regardless, if it’s because of their race or where they came from and to play off the negative, instead of bring out the positives in people. I’m not a race-baiter, as I’ve been accused of, on social media. I love getting to know people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. I just was simply pointing out a couple of facts but, at the end of the day, I love fighting in the UFC and have a solid relationship with Dana White and the company.”
A lot of fans don’t realize that besides being a UFC champion, Woodley is a dedicated father of five, a self-made businessman who owns an American Top Team Gym and a positive role model and representative of the state of Missouri. This is the real narrative of Wooley’s story, not the fact that he made valid points about race relations in the UFC.
Very few people in life come from the mean streets of an area such as Ferguson, Missouri, and not only live to tell about it but become a solid example and inspiration for others, no matter their walk of life, like Woodley has.
With the controversy behind him, Woodley is squarely focused on defending his title against Thompson, who he’ll be fighting in his first career rematch. As a combat sport purist, Woodley knows he not only needs a win over Thompson to close this chapter of his career but to have his name mentioned with the all-time mixed martial arts greats.
“I think I won rounds 1, 3 and 4 and rounds 2 and 5 were close. If you are scoring on damage, I knocked him down in three rounds and he didn’t knock me down and I feel I clearly won the fight,” Woodley said. “With all that being said, I’m focused on winning decisively this time because I have to beat him for my legacy as I’m working to go down as the greatest MMA welterweight of all-time.”
Regardless if you like Woodley or not, one has to admit, the man known as “The Chosen One” is not scared to put the facts on the table and has a champion’s mindset, which has allowed him to thrive in and out of the Octagon.
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