Woodley: Fast rematch diminishes title credibility
In most sports, ascension to a championship contest is math – you win, you're in. Whether you win in an exciting or lackluster fashion is not a factor.
This is not the case with the UFC, where whether a fighter continually presses for a knockout or takedown does factor in in determining who gets a title shot, a rematch, or keeps their contract following a loss.
Tyron Woodley recently appeared on the Sherdog Radio Network and argued that the welterweight division has been watered down by rematches, hurting the image of the sport.
Woodley argues that Robbie Lawler got a fast track to a title shot vs. Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, and a fast track to a rematch. Lawler lost to Hendricks on 3/15, beat Jake Ellenberger on 5/24, and has a fight with Mat Brown on 7/26; if he wins that, he gets a title shot.
Woodley had three fights in 2013. This year, he beat Carlos Condit on 3/15, and fights Rory MacDonald live on PPV Saturday night.
“I think we need to have some consistency and a rubric to make it more of a sport,” said Woodley. “I feel like guys that are legitimately putting themselves in that position to fight for the title by working so hard, and we should be given that shot, not just look at the fans saying, ‘That was a good fight. I want to see it again.’ OK, well, if you saw the NBA finals and it was a great series between the Heat and OKC, you don’t get to run it back just because it was a great last game of the series. The winner’s the winner.”
“As a fan and friend of Robbie, I think it was a great fight. When in the history of MMA did a guy that just came out of, not a quick knockout, but a five-round war, get signed up so quickly for the next fight? A fight in May, then right back in there in July. He’s already been set up with two fights. He will fight two times by the time I fight once. I think that if I get another chance to fight someone else in between, then I am the number one contender now.”
“Matt Brown is a tough guy. I like watching him. He comes for blood and you can never count him out. He has seven wins in a row, which is huge, but none of the guys are in the top 10, which is not as huge. Before he went on that tear, he was nearly 12-11, .500 in record. I can see how all these things are playing out, but I think maybe that bout should be the next in line to fight the winner of me and Johny.”
“I feel like all these unwarranted rematches in our sport are making the belt not as credible as it should be.”
On The Download with Dana White, UFC.com's exclusive weekly interview with the boss, White addressed Woodley's concerns.
“It's not that anybody can get a title shot or rematch – the Lawler-Johny Hendricks fight was so close,” said White. “Everybody thinks Woodley gasses out after the first round. This is Tyron's shot right here. Nobody is beating down the doors after Tyron's last two performances for him to get a title shot. He's explosive and exciting, but there are question marks there. This kid MacDonald has the exact style to tire him out and make him gas out. We'll see.
“Woodley – half the time he has a killer instinct and goes out there and destroys people, and half the time he doesn't. He's a 50/50 guy. MacDonald is the same thing,” White continued. “It's a big fight for both these guys. Woodley has to go out and make people want to see him in a title fight. This is his big opportunity. So let's see it. Go out and deliver this weekend and make people talk about you and see you in a title fight.”
So UG, what do you think happens Saturday night? What will we be saying about Tyron Woodley come Sunday?