After a lengthy layoff, Tyron Woodley cemented his spot atop the welterweight division by knocking out Robbie Lawler in the first round at UFC 201, but the beginning of his reign as champion hasn’t been all positive.
In the immediate aftermath of his victory, Woodley balked at the possibility of facing No. 1 contender Stephen Thompson in his next bout. Instead, the American Top Team product targeted “money fights” against the likes of Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre. Already, Woodley is feeling the backlash as the newly-minted champion.
“I can tell you from experience, as being the champion, the last three weeks of my life have been completely the opposite of what you’d think it’d be,” Woodley said on ”The Morning Wood” podcast. “I’ve had so many people say, ‘you p---y, you’re scared of this person,’ and I’m like, ‘I just fought an hour ago. I just got the belt.’ I’ve had people say ‘you should be stripped of the belt’ and actually it’s a month today that I won the belt.”
Some of the social media commentary since Woodley dethroned Lawler has taken on a more racist tone, but the champion does his best to block out the negativity.
“I’ve had people call me n----rs, and monkeys, and all this racist stuff, and I delete these people, then they’ll create another page and just go back out. People are willing to take so many hours of their day to be so negative,” he said.
“Some people, I look at their page and all they do all day is go against African American athletes and try to racially slur them. That I just think is somebody being ridiculous.”
While Woodley’s next title defense is not scheduled, UFC President Dana White recently said that Thompson will get the next shot at the belt.