br> Tyron Woodley entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship heralded as an explosive wrestler with one-punch knockout power. That reputation was borne out by his initial run with the promotion, up to and including his highlight-reel starching of Robbie Lawler to win the welterweight championship in 2016.
His championship tenure, however, saw him employ a more defensive, conservative fight style that left some fans grumbling. Two close five-round affairs with Stephen Thompson and a dominant but dull blanking of Demian Maia led to accusations of the champion playing it safe. That is, until Saturday’s UFC 228 title defense against then-undefeated rising star Darren Till.
“T-Wood” made short work of Till, submitting the Englishman in the second round after mauling him with elbows on the ground. So dominant was the performance that according to FightMetric, Till did not land one significant strike on his opponent. At the end of the fight, Woodley’s coach, Din Thomas entered the Octagon and presented him with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Thomas was a recent guest on “The MMA Hour” and talked to host Luke Thomas about fans’ frustration with Woodley and why it changed over the weekend.
“I think that people are starting to realize,” Thomas said. “Here’s what I think, I’m going to be honest with you, I think that people were just upset with Tyron. I don’t think that they ever didn’t think he could fight.
“I think they were just upset with him because they know what he’s capable of,” Thomas continued. “I mean, up until the second Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson fight — Tyron was just tearing people up until that fight. Then those two fights, I think he just disappointed people and they were upset with him, and that’s when they started really badmouthing him. And the fact that he was coming out and just kinda complaining about his position in the game, I think that really just kinda exacerbated everybody’s view of him, and just, ‘You know what, we don’t like this guy.’
“But I think his performance on Saturday and his stance now that, ‘Listen, I don’t care who you put in front of me, I’m just going to fight,’ I think that’s what people want from Tyron and I think that’s what turned everybody’s opinion of him around,” Thomas concluded.