After some posturing and angling for “money fights,” reigning welterweight champ Tyron Woodley will defend his belt against top contender Stephen Thompson at UFC 205.
Woodley confirmed the pairing on Friday during the weigh-in show for UFC Fight Night “Poirier vs. Johnson.” UFC 205 takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 12 and is expected to include a 170-pound clash between Donald Cerrone and Kelvin Gastelum and a middleweight tilt pitting Rashad Evans against Tim Kennedy.
Woodley claimed welterweight gold with a first-round knockout of Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 on July 30. After the victory, he balked at Thompson’s challenge for a future bout, instead pointing toward lucrative potential matchups with Georges St. Pierre or Nick Diaz.
“Nick Diaz is a top 5 welterweight of all time in my eyes. Georges St. Pierre is the No. 1 welterweight in my eyes. If I’m an athlete in this division and I want to say I’m the best in the world, I feel like I should compete against those guys,” Woodley said at the post-fight press conference. “I don’t feel any obligation to go by the rankings. I want to go out there and I want to fight the money fights.”
However, Dana White had the final say, as the UFC president squashed the notion of any welterweight other than Thompson skipping to the front of the title contention line a couple weeks later.
“Wonderboy” has been on a considerable roll of late, winning seven straight fights. That streak includes dominant triumphs over former No. 1 contender Rory MacDonald and ex-champion Johny Hendricks.