The plot thickens. In the aftermath of another near flawless display by a leading contender, just who will be the first welterweight to challenge Tyron Woodley for his UFC world title championship? Leading contender Stephen Thompson insists that’s a question with only one answer.
When Demian Maia handed Carlos Condit his first submission loss in a decade in Vancouver on Saturday night, the 38-year-old Brazilian put his name forward for title contention. Yet ‘Wonderboy’, who has himself racked up an impressive list of wins including Rory MacDonald and former champion Johny Hendricks, was also in British Columbia at the weekend and focused his attention on calling out Woodley in the hopes of securing that title shot at UFC 205.
“I have heard that it is going to happen; I’ve heard some weeks here and there that it could be a possibility,” insisted Thompson. “Just don’t know when. I’m training right now as if I’m facing Tyron Woodley in November on the Madison Square Garden card. So I’m preparing as if I’m gong to fight then.”
Stylistically Thompson believes he has the perfect skillset to give Woodley some problems. “t’s a great matchup for me. He keeps his left side forward, likes to throw the big right hand. He’s a very explosive fighter, doesn’t fight very well backing up, and tends to slow down after the first round because he’s a very explosive guy. He’s not afraid to stand there and bang it out, which is a plus for me, as well.”
Since winning the championship at UFC 201, Woodley has publicly made his feelings well known that he’s after what he considers a ‘money’ fight with the likes of Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz. Not surprisingly, Thompson has not been impressed with Woodley’s reluctance to include him in the discussion.
“He’s just coming up with excuses why not to face me,” Thompson adds. “I know he wants that money fight, but what champion who really has had the belt around their waist for 30 seconds says, ‘Hey, give me a money fight!’ I was kind of laughing in my head. I was all smiles but in my head. I was like, ‘Really?’”
But what if GSP does come back? Could the UFC really deny the greatest welterweight champion of all time a shot at a title he was never beaten for? Thompson makes the case for St-Pierre to perhaps take a super fight instead given the lengthy time away from the Octagon.
“He’s one of the greats, but he hasn’t fought in three years,” Wonderboy adds. “Plus to give that fight to Tyron? Maybe Anderson Silva or Conor McGregor or someone like that – a bigger name. I feel Tyron, his name obviously isn’t as big as some of those guys, so why would they give it to him? It’s going to happen (for me). Just tell me when and where.”