The UFC’s welterweight division is as stacked as it’s ever been. With Johny Hendricks standing on top of the heap as the newly minted champion, six to eight potential contenders are looking to vie for their shot at the belt.
Tyron Woodley was under the impression that he was only one fight away from a UFC title shot, but those stakes have been since changed by UFC president Dana White.
After Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown’s exceptional performances over the last month, Dana White had them both sign a No. 1 contender bout to face each other at UFC on FOX 12.
With that news, that of course meant that the scheduled UFC 174 bout between Tyron Woodley and Rory MacDonald would no longer be a No. 1 contender bout. Instead, the winner of Woodley/MacDonald will likely take on the winner of the Hector Lombard vs Dong Hyun Kim matchup to determine the next No. 1 contender.
Although the picture is convoluted, the UFC has a pretty solid idea of who is next in line barring injury of course.
Woodley was on the MMA Hour yesterday and discussed his frustration with losing a potential title shot:
My initial reaction was obviously not excited, jumping over the fence and looking for rainbows in the sky. For me, I was pretty upset because I was told verbally through Dana White and Lorenzo [Fertitta] that I would fight this kid, and I would fight him in his hometown, and the winner of this bout would get the shot at the world title. So for me, I thought the risk matched the reward. I was prepared to go up to this kid’s hometown and steal a show and upset the party in his hometown, but in my mind it was worth doing that to fight for a world title.
But I’m a man of my word. I’ve trained hard for this fight. I put all my ducks in one basket. I’m going up there and I’m going up there to win, and I think that no fighter in UFC history has ever had [it] in their contract, ‘if you win this bout against this guy, you are guaranteed a world title fight.’ So though they said that, I think that performance conquers all. I can go out there and outperform those guys. I would have beaten the No. 2 guy back-to-back. So I think I would have put myself right in that category to fight for a world title, and I think that if the fans get behind me and really rally up, we still can see still see me fighting for the world title.
Woodley’s sentiment make sense. The UFC and it’s fans have short term memories. If Woodley goes out and dominates MacDonald en route to a finish, it would certainly be difficult for Dana White and the UFC to not give him a title shot.