Tyron Woodley wants a big money fight rather than fighting No. 1 contender Stephen Thompson. If Georges St-Pierre is available and willing, should that fight happen over the Thompson bout? Why or why not.
MIKE HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
If St-Pierre wants to come back and fight for the Welterweight Championship, then that’s the fight UFC should make. It’s a no brainer from both a sporting and business perspective. GSP vacated the title after holding it for over five years and should be granted an immediate title shot should he return. Short of Conor McGregor, GSP is the biggest name and box office draw that could be inserted into a Welterweight Championship fight at this point in time, and a lot has to happen for a McGregor title fight to take place. If GSP isn’t ready to return by the end of the year though, Thompson should get the fight, as Woodley’s other request for Nick Diaz just doesn’t make sense.
CHRIS HUNT, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
No, he should fight Thompson. First, Tyron Woodley should not have been first in line to get the title shot first to start with. That could have gone to any other fighter, my preference would have been for a Carlos Condit rematch as in my opinion he won against Lawler and the judges robbed him.
Secondly, he only just got the title. I take nothing away from Woodley, to TKO Lawler is damn impressive. But there are so many viable contenders at welterweight that any damn fight with GSP is unfair to them. There are better options for GSP, mainly in the form of the Middleweight Championship.
Lastly, in order to be in a so called ‘super fight’ you need to be ‘super.’ You should have cleaned out the division and built a damn impressive legacy. Right now Woodley is not there.
DYLAN WEBSTER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Woodley might want the big money fight right away however in my opinion he isn’t ready for it, he just became champion and needs a few title defences starting with Stephen Thompson to build up his brand and reputation as a draw in my opinion before being handed someone as big as a GSP. Someone like Robbie Lawler who is an established well known name and had a good run as the champion of the welterweight division would be a better choice to fight GSP, his return needs to be a big deal against a big opponent ready for the occasion.
FRANK GONZALES, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think the “x” factor here is the the Welterweight Title itself, the one GSP never lost. Yes, he got lumped up by Hendricks and fell short on many cards, but the fact remains he left as the champ. Even though I loved the Brutal Bob-era, something about 170 has been unsettled since GSP’s departure. If he wants to come back, give him his shot.
As far as Woodley choosing his opponents, I get a sense something else is going on. No one seemed to mind this much when Bisping picked Henderson over Jacare and Romero. But as soon as Woodley tells Wonderboy he’s got other priorities, all hell breaks loose. I get it. Do you?
ADAM TINDAL, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
As much as I am convinced that Wonderboy is the uncrowned Welterweight Champion it’s very hard to deny GSP his shot if he really does want to come back. It’s not like he lost his belt after all. Although with Georges not wanting any preferential treatment as far as USADA is concerned that fight could be potentially many months off. Thus leaving us with two options, let Woodley fight Thompson and most likely relinquish his belt or stall and wait for GSP in typical T-Wood fashion. You can’t blame him for wanting the pay day but the more he waits the more it begins to look like it’s just Thompson that he’s trying to avoid.
STEVEN CONSENTINO, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The UFC is definitely in the business of making money; Woodley has publicly stated he wants big money fights. The (un)official return of GSP is all but guaranteed to make both parties VERY happy. This opportunity has to be capitalized on. Georges’ long awaited return is coming at a time when the UFC needs it the most, and Woodley’s first title defense would come against arguably the top draw in the division. If this fight can be put together for the UFC’S debut at Madison Square Garden, this has the potential of drawing not just hundreds of thousands of people, but millions.
Want to talk about adding sweet icing on the cake? For Thompson’s trouble, the UFC books him on the same card opposite another returning fighter: Nick Diaz. Make this the clear number one contender fight, and not only will this draw the attention of the returning Diaz who would love another potential crack at GSP, but it will also draw the attention of MANY more fans.
RYAN LEGARSKY, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Woodley has no place to be asking for money fights. I understand wanting to be a fighting champion and he wants to fight the bigger names in the sport, but Thompson has earned this shot. Wonderboy has earned a fight bonus in three of his last five fights, while GSP hasn’t stepped foot in the Octagon since 2013. It would be wrong of the UFC to offer a GSP fight before Thompson.
ROBERT STAAF, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Georges St-Pierre is the only fighter worthy of bypassing the rightful #1 Contender in Stephen Thompson. GSP relinquished the Welterweight Title having defended it a near-record nine times (just behind Anderson Silva’s 10 consecutive defenses) and is the greatest Welterweight fighter in the UFC’s history. He also only has two losses in his entire career and has even avenged both of them. On top of all this, he is one of the biggest draws in the history of the company. I don’t envision much resistance to St-Pierre receiving the next title shot. Another name that was discussed by the champ Tyron Woodley was Nick Diaz. Woodley had similar reasons for expressing a desire for this option as he did the GSP fight, as it would equal major dollar signs. The difference, though, is that Diaz is nowhere near deserving of a title fight in his return bout. While a big name and a big draw, he hasn’t won a fight in nearly five years. He needs to win one fight (ideally two or three), at the very least, before I could be okay with him receiving a title fight. With all that being said, I feel the best-case scenario would see Tyron Woodley vs. GSP while Stephen Thompson gets one more fight to prove he is the most worthy contender, preferably in a big fight against the returning Nick Diaz.
[Photo (c) Butch Dill via USA Today Sports]
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