Tyron Woodley isn’t counting on a title shot with a win over Johny Hendricks. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Like UFC 192 foe Johny Hendricks, Tyron Woodley had a decent case for getting a welterweight title shot before he was booked to face “Bigg Rigg” in Houston on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old Strikeforce veteran has won four of his last fights in the Octagon, including a second-round technical knockout triumph over Carlos Condit, who will challenge Robbie Lawler for welterweight gold at UFC 193 on Nov. 14. Meanwhile, Woodley and Hendricks, who also owns a victory against “The Natural Born Killer,” will have to square off for that No. 1 contender’s spot, and even that is not necessarily guaranteed.
But it is Hendricks who has been asked most often if he feels as though he deserved to be facing Lawler in Australia. Despite that talk, Woodley doesn’t feel overlooked or disrespected.
“Anybody that says it is a complete idiot, number one. Number two, I don’t feel like I was next in line for a title shot so I don’t feel looked over at all,” Woodley said during a conference call to promote UFC 192. “Many people thought Johny won that fight [against Lawler at UFC 181] and they thought that he’s the No. 1 guy in the world. So this is like a three-round title fight to me mentally. So I’m taking it very seriously.
“I’m excited about the fight. I’m excited about the matchup. Just to his defense, I would kind of be pissed myself,” Woodley continued. “So I think it’s showing maturity that he can move forward and have the level of focus on fighting me and not be so much worried about Robbie and Carlos Condit, especially since he’s had a victory over Carlos and I’ve had a victory over Carlos. Sometimes things just play differently.”
While the victor of Saturday’s pivotal welterweight clash would seem to be well positioned to challenge the Lawler-Condit winner, Woodley isn’t going to allow himself to think that far ahead.
“…The goal is to focus on the person in front of you. You go out there, handle business and then whatever happens after that is going to happen,” he said. Whether I get a title shot or not is not going to solely depend on what happens Oct. 3. There are so many different variables that go into that.”
Woodley is well aware of the emphasis that is placed on entertainment in the UFC these days. Condit was rewarded, in part, thanks to his penchant for exciting fights. Woodley has his share of explosive knockout triumphs – Dong Hyun Kim, Josh Koscheck and Jay Hieron come to mind – but his wrestling pedigree means that he is capable of grinding out a win as well. Don’t expect the Woodley to adapt his style to please anyone, at least not if it interferes with the primary goal, which is winning.
“Like when did this sport become that such and such an entertainment deal where you can’t just win? You have to win by jumping off the cage or doing the percolator in the middle of the Octagon and finishing a fight that way to get a title shot,” Woodley said. “I think a victory over these top guys -- none of these guys want to lose. None of these guys want to be finished. So to be able to finish a high-level opponent is not easy. I don’t want to be finished.
“So with that said, my focus is on doing what I’m able to do and maximizing and that’s really it. I don’t plan on sprinkling any extra fairy dust in the air and doing no razzle dazzle that I don’t have to do [other than] just going out there and fighting a very tough opponent.”