Tyron Woodley: Stephen Thompson was treated like the champion before UFC 205
Tyron Woodley has a lot to say ahead of his rematch against Stephen Thompson at UFC 209
Tyron Woodley thought being a UFC champion would change his life for the better.
Woodley (16-3-1), a two-time NCAA Division I All-American out the University of Missouri, earned his welterweight crown after knocking out former champion Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 201. He was on the highest of highs but quickly realized being champion wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
While he initially sought a big money fight against former champion Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz, UFC officials instead matched him up against Stephen Thompson in the co-main event of UFC 205 in November.
But what was supposed to a high point in his career, as he prepared for his first title defense, quickly turned sour as Woodley witnessed the UFC roll out the red carpet for the challenger instead.
“Going into that fight, ‘Wonderboy’ was treated as if he was the champion,” said Woodley. “I’m the champion, I knocked out the baddest welterweight in the world in record breaking time and I don’t get the respect I deserve. Don’t have him walk around with an American flag like I’m from a different country. Don’t have him paraded around, don’t have everything revolve around him.”
But when Woodley and Thompson eventually locked horns inside the cage, fans witnessed a back and forth war between the two welterweights. While Woodley dropped Thompson several times in the fourth frame, the referee allowed the fight to continue, much to the chagrin of the champion.
After the five rounds were up, the judges determined the fight was a draw. Almost immediately, fans and pundits began calling for the immediate rematch to determine a true winner. Woodley, however, wasn’t too keen on the idea as he still felt disrespected from the fans
“To top of that all these people are saying ‘oh [Woodley] has all this muscle, he can’t make it five rounds,’” said Woodley. “Well I beg your pardon, most of the damage was done in the championship rounds that he barely survived. Most referees would have stopped the contest when I dropped him for a third time in that fourth round.”
Woodley and Thompson will finally rematch in the main evnet of UFC 209 on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.