A former UFC champion has criticized Tyron Woodley’s performance at UFC 214.
That former champion is Rafael dos Anjos. By looking back on history, Woodley successfully defended his UFC welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia at UFC 214 on July 29.
However, he did it with some controversy. What’s interesting is that the UFC had a backup plan in case Maia didn’t accept the title shot on short notice. The former UFC lightweight champion who had just defeated Tarec Saffiedine in his 170-pound debut days before in Singapore was the backup plan.
According to “RDA,” the UFC called him before UFC 214 and was asked if he would take the fight if his fellow Brazilian declined the offer. RDA talked about this on the latest edition of The MMA Hour.
"I remember Sean called me and he asked me 'we’re not sure if Demian will take the fight, we’re going to know in a couple of days, and would you take the fight like a backup plan?’ I said of course,” dos Anjos told Ariel Helwani on Tuesday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "I just had a fight in Singapore, I had all interest in fighting for the title. Of course I accepted it.”
"A couple of days later Maia took the fight, but I kept training,” he said. "I kept my camp because we never know. I got hurt before and I don't know what could happen, and I kept training, but the fight happened. I got offered that fight and I took it.”
The fight went as planned and they fought for five rounds in California. It was a lackluster fight to say the least. Although Woodley remained champion, he didn’t escape from criticism.
"That was a really technical fight,” dos Anjos said. "Woodley, I have respect for him. He defended the title three times in one year. That’s a lot for the champ to be defending the title, but he played safe. He didn’t take many risks."
"Demian had a short camp, he wasn't feeling that confident to push hard and push the pace of the fight,” he continued. "That's what I felt. And Woodley doesn't wanna take any risks, doesn't wanna get taken down, and he played his game and he won the fight. But the fans didn't like the fight.”
"I have over 20 fights in the UFC and I never got booed in my life,” the Brazilian said. "One thing can be sure, I will walk forward and we’re gonna make it a fight. I'm not gonna let him walking around, playing around, playing a strategic game. I will be the aggressor, and we're gonna fight. I'm going to knock him out or he’s gonna knock me out.”