Like plenty of other UFC champions, Tyron Woodley wasted no time in calling out opponents after knocking out Robbie Lawler in July.
Despite Stephen Thompson being the number one contender, Woodley turned his attention to Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, and it was met with criticism.
GSP was on the verge of a comeback, and Diaz was seen as the big-money fight even though he hadn’t won since defeating B.J. Penn in 2011.
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So as expected, fans weren’t happy with his choice of potential opponents, but as we now know, Woodley will be defending his welterweight crown against Thompson at UFC 205 in November.
However, speaking on The MMA Hour, Woodley has been questioning why he’s being criticised a lot more than other fighter’s when it comes to picking opponents, specifically targeting Michael Bisping and Conor McGregor who were able to pick their fights.
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He said: “Michael Bisping’s fighting the 12th or 13th ranked guy. I love Dan Henderson. He’s done a crapload for my career, he was my first sponsor with Clinch Gear. Yeah, I love Dan Henderson. I’ve trained with him.
“But if you look at the sport, if you look at the sport’s purists, he’s not the first person to deserve a title shot. Maybe ‘Jacare’ Souza, maybe a rematch with Luke Rockhold, maybe Chris Weidman, whoever. But, this fight makes sense why? Because Bisping wanted this fight, and because this fight could draw some money."
“But if I do that, now it’s an issue. If Conor McGregor can fight Nate Diaz two times – the first time, people forget the whole reason why they fought. He was supposed to go up and fight for that belt and then potentially come up to get whooped at 170 for trying to fight for that belt, but [Rafael dos Anjos] couldn’t fight.
“Nate was a last-minute replacement. He beat him, when many people didn’t think he was going to beat him fighting on 10 days’ notice, the trash talk, build another fight. Why is this fight even happening at 170?
"We forget the reason why. But that fight’s okay. It’s okay for those guys to go out there and make five million dollars for a non-title fight on record for purse, and another three million for pay-per-view.
“It’s okay to talk about that money, but you’re a champion, oh we should never want that kind of money. That’s kind of funny to me.”
Woodley’s frustrations are understandable. While fans want to see great fights, fighter’s do want to make money and put some big names on their records.
However, Bisping’s decision to fight Henderson over any of the other middleweight’s such as Jacare or Weidman will certainly come under scrutiny once UFC 204 is in the books and we have a winner.
McGregor is a different entity entirely. He’s the fighter everybody wants inside of the Octagon, and the sad thing is that he can’t fight everyone we want him to.
Rightfully, Aldo probably deserves a rematch just like McGregor got his after losing to Diaz in their first clash.
So it does seem as if some champions can cherry pick their opponents, and it’s something that’ll need to change relatively soon as more champions could come out and support Woodley’s words.
Is Tyron Woodley right to be frustrated at the double standards? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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