Demian Maia has won seven straight fights, and has cruised through several top contenders, but Stephen Thompson thinks the vaunted grappler’s in for a tough go against Tyron Woodley.
Although a bout between Maia and Woodley has yet to be announced, Dana White has said that the Brazilian will challenge for the 170 title net. The UFC President made that pledge after Maia worked his way to a tightly contested, split decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 last month.
Well, Thompson knows a few things about Woodley, as the two have battled not once, but twice (the first bout was a majority draw, and Woodley took the rematch via decision). Recently “Wonderboy” was a guest on Submission Radio, and he was asked to weigh-in on Woodley – Maia. Here is some of what Thompson had to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“Tyron is a very strong opponent,” Thompson said. “I mean, he’s proven he can go five five-minute rounds. But man, if Demian Maia gets a hold of him, it’s gonna be a rough night for Tyron. But I do believe that Tyron can send him off of those takedowns. He’s such a powerful guy, great wrestling, good takedown defense. Demian is definitely gonna have a hard time getting Tyron down, and that’s where the whole debacle is gonna be.”
“It could be a stand-up fight. I don’t know if Demian could get Tyron down or not. Maybe he can control him against the cage, but he’s so explosive and so powerful, I think Demian is gonna have a very hard time doing that. And plus, you’ve seen in the past with Demian in the later rounds he gets tired ‘cause he tries so hard to get his opponents down. And you saw the Demian Maia fight, even when he fought Matt Brown, the last round he was just done, you know, it took one hundred percent of him to try and get him down.”
Thompson certainly isn’t the only person to voice this opinion. As the highlight reel striker noted, not only is Woodley ridiculously strong, but he’s a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler. So, this is why, Woodley will likely be a sizeable favorite if and when the fight is finalized.
But, Maia did chain together some nice takedowns against Masvidal, who leading up to the bout, had argued his wrestling would play a key role in the fight. Now, Masvidal doesn’t have the wrestling pedigree of Woodley, but it is something to consider.
Thompson, meanwhile, continues to recover from knee surgery. The welterweight is hoping to return to the cage in September.