Tyron Woodley captured the UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday night, beating Robbie Lawler at UFC 201. Woodley hadn’t necessarily earned the shot based on rankings with other contenders available, and rankings aren’t a concern of his after the bout, either.
During the post-fight show on Fox Sports 1 for the event, Woodley called for a fight with a returning Nick Diaz next, and said he wanted that fight to come in just three weeks time at UFC 202. He then expanded on his thoughts at the post-fight press conference.
“I want to make some money – I’ll be honest,” Woodley said (transcribed by MMAJunkie.com). “Goal 1 is to be the welterweight champion of the world, but I put in too much time, [and] I’m away from my family way too often. This is a sport where we can make cash now, so instead of just saying, ‘This person deserves it,’ I think Nick Diaz comes off suspension in two days. I would love to fight him on [UFC 202].
“He puts a lot of butts in seats, [and sells] a lot of pay-per-views, so why not put him on the card with Conor and his brother? I know he’s training already. Let him cash out. I’m willing to give him the opportunity. Or, I would like to fight Georges St-Pierre in New York City [at UFC 205].”
As for presumed No. 1 contender Stephen Thompson, Woodley held some of “Wonderboy’s” previous comments against him.
“Stephen Thompson said he wanted to fight Robbie Lawler – he said he was the better matchup, that the fans would love to watch it,” Woodley said. “He’ll get the opportunity to have that fight.”
Penick’s Analysis: The UFC’s helped facilitate the current environment where these types of demands and fights can be made. Michael Bisping’s getting Dan Henderson under the similar argument of letting the younger guys fight among themselves while the old guard tries to sell pay-per-views. It means some of these champions aren’t fighting their best competition, and could shake rankings up a bit as a result in the near future. Still, it’s hard to fault the logic on Woodley’s part. He took advantage of an opportunity, and wants to cash out as he can. There’s not enough money coming to the “best” fighters all the time in this sport, so sometimes they’ve got to find a way to make it happen otherwise.
[Photo (c) Butch Dill via USA Today Sports]
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