Tyron Woodley, previously ranked No. 11 in the welterweight division of the UFC, made headlines at UFC 171 by finishing off second-ranked Carlos Condit in somewhat controversial fashion. Following a devastating takedown and a subsequent kick by Woodley, Condit suffered a torn ACL. Woodley won the fight by a TKO.
UFC President Dana White often books bouts based on which fighters fans want to see, rather than matching up fighters who might "deserve" the opportunity. This victory puts Woodley in a good position to secure more high-profile fights. Will he get the title shot he thinks he deserves?
STACK caught up with him this week to get his thoughts on his training, the Condit fight, and a chance to avenge a 2005 Big 12 Wrestling Conference Finals loss to Johny Hendricks almost a decade ago.
STACK: Take us through the fight. What was going through your head against Condit? What was your strategy?
Woodley: My strategy was to explode in 30-second intervals, explode through the shots, explode through the combinations, be versatile and move out of the way. I know he's a long-range guy, but he needed me to be right in front of him to throw those kicks. I was hitting hard in the first 10 seconds of the fight with some pretty hard bombs, so I think that got his attention.
STACK: How do you train to do those 30-second bursts?
Woodley: Joe Rogan decides that he wants to talk about guys with muscles, and brainwashing the media that eventually that person is going to fatigue. You watch guys like Mike Tyson or Jim Brown, those guys are very vascular, very muscular. They're muscle dense, but those guys had great cardio. We activate a spread, which simulates a combination, a hard-fought shot, a hard defending shot, something very anaerobic, and it blows your lungs out. It's actually harder than a person that's training for a marathon, or a triathlete that maintains one steady pace. I take a huge discredit when people reference guys who are muscular and are heading towards fatigue. I train so much harder than someone who's just training cardio.
STACK: Walk us through the end of that fight.
Woodley: If I would have thrown a right hand and broke his jaw, and he couldn't continue because of that, I would have been praised. If he would have thrown a leg kick like Anderson Silva, and I had a shin of steel like Chris Weidman and I checked it and broke it—though that was a defensive instead of an offensive kick—he didn't get any scrutiny. It's funny that the media and the fans, they have their certain perception. It's nothing different to me than an arm bar, somebody breaking their arm and they can't finish, or a kick to the ribs, or someone getting hit with a hard bomb and they get cut and they stop due to excessive bleeding. Kudos to me that I acknowledge and I knew that he was hurt and I went in for the kill. You know some guys don't have the killer instinct, and I think I do and I think it's a credit to me.
STACK: So what are your thoughts post-fight? I'm sure some people are calling you because you beat the #No. 2 contender.
Woodley: The good thing would be right after that victory, if they would have announced at the press conference the dates for the next fight. That didn't happen, so it kind of took a little bit away from the moment, but I got to sit back and I've got to realize that this is a great time. I just beat the No. 2 dude in the world. I stepped up to the plate when nobody else would. I took on the "Natural Born Killer" when everyone else was being so quiet. Now everybody wants a title shot. I told somebody, "My mom could call right now and say that she wants a title shot." They might try to pick a fight between me and someone else to make it a no-brainer when I thought that's just what this fight was; I thought this was for the No. 1 contender.
STACK: What do you do right after a fight?
Woodley: I don't know what's going to happen, and the best thing I can do is stay ready. I'm going to start back working. That's what I do best. I work hard. I'm mentally focused and I'm patient, but when I feel like it's my time, if I feel very strongly on something I'm probably going to say it and I'm probably going to be vocal about it. I think that's what the fans have got to realize—that this is just my season. Nobody can beat Carlos Condit down like that. GSP couldn't do it. Johny Hendricks couldn't do it. I hit him with probably the hardest punches he's ever been hit with. I disturbed his psyche. I think I'm just a different manner of man, I think God gave me these gifts, I think he blessed me with talent in addition to work ethic, strong mindset, and also just the ability to acknowledge that it's my time.
STACK: Say they do call you up to fight Hendricks. What do you think your game plan would be against him?
Woodley: I think Hendricks would have a hard time with my speed. I think he does well and looks great for the fans when someone is standing in front of him, but [among the] welterweights, I'm probably the most athletic out of all of us. That and my ability to close the gap, use my reach, hit him hard, get in and out, I think it's going to make him frustrated. He's shot on my leg in my life and taken me down. With punches and knees and elbows included, it's going to be even harder to do. I think he's tough. We've seen what he can take. I think it's a war, man. It'll be an execution battle, and I think I'm the more intelligent fighter as far as building a great game plan and going out and getting the victory.
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