Recently, UFC president, Dana White, decimated welterweight champion Tyron Woodley’s hopes of meeting either of his top choices, Nick Diaz or Georges St-Pierre, in his first title defense in the Octagon. Instead, White named Stephen Thompson as Woodley’s challenger, during his interview with UFC.com.
Woodley, who stole the belt from former welterweight champ, Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in July, was quick to name his preferred challengers in his first title defense, immediately after his win. He wanted either the returning Diaz or the rumored-coming-out-of-retirement St-Pierre, with the hopes of getting his “money fight.”
“Nick Diaz is a top-five 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 sport, in this division and I want to say I’m the best in the world, I feel like I should compete against those guys. So I don’t feel any obligation to go by the rankings. We all know how those rankings are produced anyway. And I want to go out there and I want to fight the money fights.” Said the Chosen One, during his post-fight conference after UFC 201.
But White threw a knockout punch to Woodley’s request and has decided that top contender Stephen Thompson deserves a shot at the welterweight belt.
“There are other guys deserving of a title shot. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is going to fight for the 170-pound title and then we’ll see what happens with Nick and Nate (after UFC 202).” he explained during his recent UFC.com interview.
Thompson has been having a phenomenal streak, as of late, bagging seven straight, with his last win against Rory MacDonald. He currently stands at 13-1 and is the number 2 contender for the belt (behind only former champ Robbie Lawler).
Meanwhile, Woodley has already reacted to White’s announcement, saying he never got the memo about his supposed fight with Thompson.
Funny how there is an official fight announced and I 1) Havent spoken to anyone 2) Agreed on opponent or date 3) Signed a bout agreement. 😭😭
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) August 12, 2016
Which begs the question- even if White names Stephen Thompson as Woodley’s challenger, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to fight each other.
PHOTO COURTESY: Lee Brimelo/ Flickr