Jay Hieron is hoping Tyron Woodley brings some aggression to the cage when they meet Saturday at UFC 156. If Woodley fights conservatively, though, Hieron says he’ll also be ready for that approach.
“He’s another tough guy,” Hieron told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Cheap Seats” show. “This is what I want right now at this point in my career is tough fights. I think I’m prepared. I’m as skilled as any man out there. What I see from him is he’s definitely more of a wrestler, and hopefully he opens it up a little bit. I’m prepared for anything. I come from a wrestling background too. His wrestling isn’t really scary to me or nothing like that.”
Woodley was a two-time All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri. In Strikeforce, he was able to take down and control opponents, though he also showed some capable striking skills when he let his hands go. Most recently, though, he lost the first fight of his career when Nate Marquardt knocked him out in July. Some fighters coming off their first loss would be gun-shy, but Hieron isn’t particularly focused on Woodley’s mindset.
“What I’ve got to do is concentrate on me and what I’m going to do in this fight and my skills and believe in what I’ve got, and when I get out there flow and see how it’s going and look for my opportunities to present themselves,” Hieron said. “I’m well prepared for that. Whatever game he wants to play, I think I can hold my own. … If he wants to try to lay on me, I think I’m one of the best at getting back to my feet. If he does get me down, which will be hard, I will get back up eventually. And I could go out and take him down too. My wrestling’s just as good.”
Hieron is also coming off a loss, having dropped a unanimous decision to Jake Ellenberger in October.
“My last fight, I still think I won, but I could have pushed a little more,” Hieron said. “So again, I’m going to be a little more aggressive but intelligent. I’m not a reckless fighter. I don’t stand there and just trade. I’m a thinking fighter. I see stuff coming at me and I move, but I’m definitely looking to open up opportunities.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:00:10).