At no time in recent history has a UFC title seen more jockeying for position than the present welterweight divisional scenario. Next week in Dallas, the vacant belt will be up for grabs between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, while a pivotal pairing is contested beneath it. There are also several others making a case that they should be next up in the title picture.
It’s all a bit confusing, and to be honest, after years of Georges St-Pierre’s reign of terror, it’s a bit refreshing as well.
In a Thursday conference call for UFC 171, Carlos Condit said he has been virtually assured that with a win, he would get the next title shot. And his opponent, Tyron Woodley, said the same should hold true for him.
None of it is entirely decided, but that isn’t stopping either guy from defending his perceived turf. Trespassers beware. That means you, Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz.
In recent interviews, both have made their case to vault over the field, which prompted a blunt and humorous reaction from Woodley.
I think it’s kind of comical all of the sudden he wants to jump in front. Same as Diaz, thinks he’s going to jump in front. I think they share the same bag of weed.
- Tyron Woodley
"[MacDonald] should have taken the chance when he had it," he said. "You were ranked the third welterweight in the world. Being a gatekeeper, beating top guys. And then when it came down to fight GSP, he didn’t want to do it. I’m pretty sure Carlos has had some training sessions with GSP at Greg Jackson’s camp. When it came down to fighting him, he stepped up to the plate and was trying to take his head off. I think that’s where the ball kind of dropped in his court. I think it’s kind of comical that he thinks all of the sudden he’s just going to jump in front. Same as Diaz, thinks he’s going to jump in front. I think they share the same bag of weed."
By some measures, MacDonald is ahead of Woodley in the pecking order, ranked No. 4 while Woodley checks in at No. 11. Of course, a win over Condit would be a game-changer on his resume, and something MacDonald could not boast. Woodley (12-2) has gone 2-1 since coming over to the UFC from Strikeforce, with knockouts of Josh Koscheck and Jay Hieron sandwiching a narrow split-decision loss to Jake Shields.
By comparison, MacDonald is 7-2 in the UFC although he lost as recently as November in a split-decision to Robbie Lawler. Just two weeks ago, he rebounded with a win over Demian Maia.
Diaz, though, is a whole other story. He’s semi-retired and hasn’t fought in a year after losing to St-Pierre. He’s continually said he would not return except for a title fight.
Condit was plenty more diplomatic in his reaction to MacDonald and Diaz, acknowledging that he would be interested in rematches with either, but not before other pressing matters.