Tyron Woodley has noticed a trend in the UFC involving its top athletes. In certain instances, the UFC rewards title shots to those with the highest drawing power over legitimate top contenders within a division.
Chael Sonnen, whose drawing power skyrocketed after his turn to UFC heel in 2010, was granted a shot at the light heavyweight title coming off a second championship loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 159. Nick Diaz, who lost in a controversial bout with Carlos Condit at UFC 143, was booked with welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre in his next fight. And now, most recently, Irish superstar Conor McGregor has been granted an immediate rematch with Nate Diaz even though he was submitted by the Californian at UFC 196.
Woodley, who knocked out Robbie Lawler to seize the 170-pound title at UFC 201, wants to defend the belt against a big name - possibly GSP or Nick Diaz.
'T-Wood' clarified his stance on 'The Morning Wood' podcast and claimed that the UFC is no longer a legitimate sport.
"Think about Johny Hendricks. First time Johny Hendricks got his shot, he beat [John] Koscheck, he knocked out [Martin] Kampmann, he knocked out [Jon] Fitch, he beat Carlos Condit," Woodley said, per Jonathan Bradley of FOX Sports. "He got skipped over by who? Nick Diaz because he was a bigger draw. Think about Frankie Edgar. Completely wiped out the division. Did he get an immediate shot against Conor? Or was Conor able to jump weight classes? And then when that falls through, he gets to go and fight Nate Diaz. Loses the fight, is still the champion and rematches the guy.
"This is not a sport anymore, folks, and I'm not entitled to give any super smiley [expletive] a shot because I won, and they've been watching some Conor McGregor videos and think they can talk me into a fight."
Many expect Woodley to face top contender Stephen Thompson in his first title defence, but the newly crowned champion said he's the one now calling the shots.
"It was never, ‘Hey, Tyron, you're the No. 1 choice being that you're an OG, you been in the game a long time, you've been professional, you made weight, you returned money back to guys when they missed weight and have been penalized by the commission. You always showed up. ...' It wasn't that. So now it's my turn. You fight me if I want to fight you. And if you don't, you need to be quiet — I'm the champ, not you."
Diaz recently called out Woodley on social media, posting a video of his knockout loss to Nate Marquardt in 2012, and there seems to be a rivalry forming between the two welterweights. GSP, who vacated the title in 2013, has also teased at a potential UFC return.