Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson were met with a chorus of boos both during and after their welterweight championship rematch at UFC 209 last weekend.
There was minimal action throughout the bout, with both men hesitant to pull the trigger and seemingly unable to find their timing.
‘T-Wood’ came to life in the fifth round, blasting ‘Wonderboy’ with a barrage of strikes to seal the majority decision win, but it wasn’t enough to convince the fans of a great performance.
Their last bout at UFC 205, which contained much more action, went to a draw but Woodley, a traditionally explosive fighter with some of the heaviest hands in the division, has scored plenty of KO’s in the past, finishing the likes of Robbie Lawler and Dong Hyun Kim.
The reigning 170-pound champion reminded fans of this fact on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, telling Ariel Helwani that the critics have a short memory.
“People can say, ‘Oh, he’s a boring fighter,’” Woodley said, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. “How many guys have I knocked out? Think about the Carlos Condit fight, the Dong Hyun Kim fight, the Robbie Lawler fight, the Jay Hieron fight, the Josh Koscheck fight. Even the last fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Everything that people said about me, I’ve proven wrong. But nobody has that long-term memory. Everybody is like Dory from ‘Finding Nemo.’”
Woodley admits that it wasn’t the most exciting championship fight but believes he did well to overcome a very unorthodox opponent.
“The look on my face after the fight wasn’t because I thought I lost,” Woodley said. “I expected myself to do better. It really wasn’t a terrible fight. I wouldn’t give myself a C, I’d give myself an A. But the fight itself, I could have forced more flurries. I could have forced more interactions.
“I was a little bit frustrated with myself, because I saw some opportunities and I didn’t seize the moment.”
Despite the bombardment of criticism from UFC 209, Woodley still feels he can become one of the promotion’s biggest stars.
“You gotta know me to promote me,” he said. “You can’t just promote a fighter. I believe the UFC should promote stories, they should promote lifestyles, they should promote what it took for that person to be in the Octagon. Because it took something for all of us to be here. And that’s how you get the fans behind you, that’s how you get them to stay behind you. Not just a fight.
“I feel like I’m the guy that they can make a star, that’s already doing everything for them. There’s not much more you need to do.”
It’s likely that Woodley will defend his title against the winner of Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211, which takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on May 13.
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