To make it more poetic, the reigning welterweight champion wanted to make the fight happen at UFC 209 on March 4th. But according to Woodley, it was Diaz who turned down the fight, stating the Stockton native “just wanted to get paid.”
Instead, Woodley will be facing Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at the said event, to settle the score after their disputed draw at UFC 205 last November. But as far as he’s concerned, the UFC could have benefited big if the Diaz fight pushed through.
“I think it’s a missed opportunity for the UFC to push someone that is a legend for the sport,” Woodley said during a pre-UFC 209 media lunch (via MMA Fighting). “An all-time top five welterweight, someone I saw a lot in Strikeforce and always, it was more of a respect thing that, I think someone who has done that much for the sport, it was getting to the point where the platform was higher than the paycheck, he probably should have been able to fight.”
As of the moment, Woodley is focused at his next assignment - a dangerous opponent in Thompson. But at the same time, he is already looking at his immediate fighting future, involving current champions and future legends.
“There are about five or six fights in my career that, I really think are the fights to show I’m the best welterweight ever. Obviously a rematch with [Thompson] at some point is one of those fights. Also Demian Maia is one, he’s caught in a holster and he is deserving. You think about the Diaz brothers, you think about Conor (McGregor), you think about Georges St-Pierre, all of them are big fights.”