Tyron Woodley wants to become the greatest welterweight of all time, and while defending the UFC’s title multiple more times will help him reach that goal, he knows more highlight finishes will too.
Back when Woodley was with Strikeforce, hardcore fans and pundits understood that the powerful fighter had the athletic abilities and wrestling pedigree to go a long way in the sport. Since then, Woodley has delivered on that buzz, as he’s gone on to become the UFC’s welterweight champ.
But, while Woodley has scored some memorable wins, like he did when he KO’d Robbie Lawler to grab the title, the powerful fighter has also been involved in some lacklustre bouts. So, during the recent media call to promote UFC 214, when Woodley will fight Demian Maia, the champ had this to say (quote via MMA Junkie):
“The way that I go out there and fight guys, I could open up a little bit more and let guys have it,” Woodley said. “I possess all the tools and all the skills and explosiveness and conditioning. Sometimes it’s the way I fight opponents that could get me in that position. I think this will be a step forward. It won’t be a huge, long jump, but it will be a step forward. And I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not trying to win two or three fights and get out of this. I’m trying to grow as a champion and grow into a superstar.”
There’s no question that Woodley has demonstrated he can be a ridiculously, dangerous fighter, but he’s also been accused of taking his foot of the gas pedal, instead of driving for a finish. Case in point, although Woodley went undefeated against Stephen Thompson twice, he had the vaunted striker in trouble and was unable to score a stoppage.
Now it remains to be seen if Woodley can do so against Maia, arguably the greatest grappler in the game. Will Woodley be able to stuff Maia’s takedown attempts and score a KO? We shall see.
If Woodley only gets by Maia with a tightly contested, decision, his critics will likely pile on once again…