UFC 171: Woodley on fighter pay, pursuit of better opportunities & point fighting

Tyron Woodley at UFC 171 weigh-ins - Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

UFC Welterweight contender Tyron Woodley discusses Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, fighter pay, fighting teammates and more.

Tonight we're going to be treated to several great fights on an outstanding UFC 171 card. At the forefront of the bouts I want to see is Tyron Woodley vs Carlos Condit. It has potential for epic greatness, not to mention it could determine Number 1 contender status for the Welterweight division.

In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Tyron discusses his opponent, Nick Diaz, fighter pay, fighting teammates and more. Here's what he had to say:

Carlos Condit

We're really just watching out for spacing. We viewed some film on him and when he gets dropped or hit, guys close the gap too fast and get all antsy and that's when he catches them. He recovers very quickly, and sometimes that can be mentally discouraging for a fighter. You hit a guy with hard shots and he comes back to life; for me it's not going to be hit him drop him and walk away, but it will be about covering that ground while keeping adequate space so he can't grab right onto me and force me into his guard or a position that can slow me down. Spacing is everything.

Everyone thinks I'm knocking Carlos. I'm part point fighter, and point brawler and point wrestler.

You know, being a point fighter is not a bad thing. Everyone thinks I'm knocking Carlos. It means you're tactical, resourceful; you get in, score your points and get out. Then, when you get somebody hurt, or you break somebody mentally with fatigue, that's when you go in for the kill. I'm part point fighter, and point brawler and point wrestler.

Nick Diaz

I thank Nick Diaz for saying no to the Condit fight. I think he's in La-La Land. You lost your last two fights. You haven't won since 2011. He's probably beaten one or two wrestlers in his life. Look at his losses: GSP, Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs; a lot of guys that could take him down or keep him cornered off. He's a great fighter and nobody can take that away from him, but outside the cage, he's a moron. If you think you can retire coming off back to back losses and think you're gonna jump right back into a title fight...he's just playing off the fact that he might be a great draw.

Being Robbie Lawler's teammate

Robbie Lawler is my teammate, so that's the least appealing fight for me. If he wins his fight, and I win my fight...we'd have to have a quick chat in the locker room. It would be his moment, and I hate when organizations bring in the next guy to challenge for the title into the cage. I really believe that it takes so much to get there, so I prefer to let the guy have his moment and enjoy it. That's a lifetime achievement. After that, after some time has passed; a few days, a week, then make the announcement, but it doesn't happen like that. If it doesn't happen in the cage, it usually happens at the post fight press conference.

There are very few people that you train with that you can call friend. There are close associates and whatnot, but very few are friends. We're not as close as Cormier and Velasquez, but we're still friends and supportive of each other. That's a rare find. I plan to support him. Do I want him to lose so I don't have to fight him one day? No. We'll just have to see how it all works out.

Fighter Pay

I feel like the UFC is taking care of me and that I'm paid appropriately for where I'm at in my career. When you fight for the title, obviously you want more, and in this division, GSP is the money fight. No other fight brings the money like that one. It sucks that he's gone because a guy could make a huge amount on that one fight, win or lose.

I get paid decently, so I'm not one of the guys that can complain, but at the same time, I have a family; three kids and a wife, so my check doesn't go as far as I would like it to go, so it's a good thing they have those performance bonuses where you can potentially be rewarded some extra money.

I need to fight two or three times a year. I drive a 2006 Nissan Altima. I don't have a mansion or a crazy sports car. I live within my means, and at some point I would like to get to where I can start putting some away and saving for the future. I'm very grateful for where I'm at, but I'm not satisfied with staying at this point. We all have to work towards doing better. That's in any career.

The way I match up with Carlos is almost a little bit better than with some of those guys that are walking punching bags that just keep coming forward like the Terminator.

Being aggressive to secure high profile fights

Sometimes you've got to do what it takes to get the job done. I know for a fact if I would've stayed back and not said anything or texted Dana, I probably would've been fighting Kevin Gastelum or Rick Story. Those guys are tough, but not ranked in the Top 5, and close to the same position I'm in. You have to have progress. Fighting one of those guys is just as risky as fighting Condit, but without the movement up the ranks toward my goal. The way I match up with Carlos is almost a little bit better than with some of those guys that are walking punching bags that just keep coming forward like the Terminator.

You can't just wait on the UFC to come knocking on your door. This is a business. It's a sport, but there is a business side with a lot of politics involved. You have to go out there and say, ‘I want to be the champion. I want to fight this guy', not because I think Carlos Condit is a chump, but because he's in the spotlight. I want that. He's set his sight on being the guy to fight the winner, and I want to intercept that opportunity. I want to steal the show.

I think that's a lost art. I think Dana White respects that. You sign on to be a fighter. You didn't sign to play Bingo. When I went after this fight hardcore and aggressively, I think he appreciated that. It goes back to the old school guys like the Miletich guys who would fight anybody you put in front of them. That is a lost art, and I hope to try to help bring that back. You can feed me to the wolves, but guess what, Joe Silva? I already know who they are, and I'm ready for them.

You can follow Tyron via his Twitter account, @TWooodley

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