Tyron Woodley has studied plenty of footage of Jake Shields ahead of their welterweight bout scheduled for June 15 at UFC 161.
In fact, Woodley has seen about enough.
“I’m actually tired of watching Jake,” Woodley told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “He’s annoying me right now; I’m tired of watching his film. I’ve watched more on him than anybody because what he’s good at is the very small things that you don’t really notice, that you don’t see on the ground. He’s a mastermind at what he does on the ground, particularly on top. Not so much on the feet.”
Woodley believes Shields might have the best top game in the welterweight division. However, he also believes Shields’ striking is “probably” the worst in the division.
“My partners are tired of mimicking him,” Woodley said. “I’m going to just keep it real: He’s hella stiff. He’s really stiff and he’s unorthodox. Even Keith Jardine looks a little bit smoother than him. His jab, the way he throws his right hand and immediately goes to clinch, how he dives in on the legs -- it doesn’t have to be pretty, but it gets the job done. He kicks to your right side, these little liver kicks, [and] it’s annoying. … I’ve got to be able to work my technique around what he’s doing. He’s going to throw jabs. His jabs look like he’s trying to keep you away from him, like a defensive jab, but he’s moving forward. It’s just really weird.”
Woodley is certain Shields will stick to his typical game plan: take the fight to the ground and look for a submission.
“He can talk about knocking people out, but I don’t know if he’s ever even punched anybody and made them say ouch before,” Woodley said. “I think he is fooling himself if he thinks I’m buying into that. He’s going to try to take me down. He’s going to try to submit me. That’s the one way he can win, and I have 10 ways I can win.”
In Woodley’s view, Shields is stellar in one aspect of the game, and it’s an aspect that will be nullified when they meet at UFC 161.
“I’m a two-time All-American wrestler,” Woodley said. “He’s not just going to dive in with some slop and get me on the ground. He’s going to have to catch me punching. He’s going to have to get close. He’s going to have to shoot a bad shot, come up to a clinch, try to run me to the clinch and then hang on to my legs for dear life. … For me, it’s just really stopping him from getting to my legs, stopping him from getting to a clinch, using my tools and being faster. He can’t make up speed and power in the training camp. He can’t make up years of wrestling and experience and competing at a high level. He can’t make up the fact that I’m stronger and I hit harder than him and I’m the better striker, and I can’t make up the fact that he’s a better grappler than me right now. But also he’s probably a better swimmer too, but we’re not going into the pool and I’m not going into his jiu-jitsu game. I think it’s just a terrible matchup for him.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:37:16).