Of the many interesting fights to be made in the UFC's welterweight division, Tyron Woodley vs. Hector Lombard is the one that is already creating buzz, despite the fact that Lombard will be meeting up with Josh Burkman at UFC 182 and Woodley is booked to fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183. Both men share ties with American Top Team, so when Hector called Tyron out several weeks back and then again earlier this month, it wasn't exactly a shock when the latter declined the invitation. Woodley has stated previously that he would not fight a teammate unless it was for the title, and he reiterated this in a recent interview with MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti.
"Look at my résumé," Woodley responded on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Look who I fought. I haven't fought any scrubs. I've had a big break. I fought four times in a year. I fought in November, I fought in March, I fought in June, I fought in August, and I'm supposed to turn right back around and fight in November just because somebody wants to fight me?
"The reasons why I didn't fight, I stayed true to those things. Me and somebody at American Top Team, whether this person is my best friend or whether this person is a complete idiot, I'm not going to fight that person unless it's for a world title because we can fight somebody else in the division. The division is stacked."
Woodley, a Ferguson, MO native, dismissed notions of being scared of Lombard, stating:
"If you know where I'm from and you know what I've been through in my life, I haven't always been the person that I am right now. Me being scared of somebody is not very likely, so when people say those things you want to kinda get back at them."
When Tyron initially turned down the proposed bout with Lombard, Dana White was quick to make that information public, causing some backlash with fans. Woodley stayed quiet up until now, but is finally fed up with the topic.
"I don't think that freakin' Kelvin Gastelum is anything less dangerous than Hector Lombard," Woodley said. "I don't think Carlos Condit was anything less dangerous than Hector Lombard, and I don't think Rory MacDonald is any less skilled than Hector Lombard. So for someone to say that I'm scared, I'm ducking (him): I've never ducked a fight.
"I've accepted fights within 10 minutes. ‘Hey Tyron, we want you to take Hector Lombard's fight -- Mr. Injured, and then all of a sudden healed -- we want you to take his fight (at UFC Fight Night 48), and I said let me go train. I'm in Singapore on vacation, I go train for one hour, I get back on the phone and I miraculously saved a card. People don't remember that. They've got a very short-term memory, they're very conditional, so you're right, at a certain point I was about to pop off, because I was getting pissed off.
Woodley stated that he tried to reach out to Hector on a personal level, but that was obviously to no avail, considering the continued attacks on his character.
"He's probably salty and bitter about that I'm ranked higher than him, that I'm endorsed more handsomely than him, and more people want to work with me because it's how you treat people. You have to live up to how you treat people. If you treat people a certain way, then people treat you a certain way. If you treat people poorly, then you're going to be looked as that guy that's treating people like crap.
"If Hector wants to sit down, if he wants to talk, I'm all good with that. But I know the truth, he knows the truth, and we'll squash it at some point."
As always, Bloody Elbow will keep our readers updated on this story as more information becomes available.