Tyron Woodley will once again put his UFC welterweight title on the line against top contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, as the two are set to rematch in the main event of March 4’s UFC 209 from Las Vegas, Nevada. The two men first fought at UFC 205 last November, going back-and-forth for five rounds in a bout that was ultimately deemed a majority draw.
While the rematch certainly makes sense, Woodley seemed to be more interested in ‘money fights’ with Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz rather than fighting Thompson again. In fact, Woodley thinks the UFC ‘missed’ an opportunity by not booking against Diaz at UFC 209:
“I think it’s a missed opportunity for the UFC to push someone that is a legend for the sport,” Woodley told MMAFighting.com today at a media lunch for his upcoming bout with Thompson. “An all-time top five welterweight, someone I saw a lot in Strikeforce and always, it was more of a respect thing that, I think someone who has done that much for the sport, it was getting to the point where the platform was higher than the paycheck, he probably should have been able to fight.”
Diaz hasn’t competed since 2015 when he lost a decision to Anderson Silva, although it was later changed to a no-contest after both men failed drug tests. The Stockton native tested positive for marijuana metabolites, leading the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to hand him a fine as well as an 18-month suspension. He is now clear to fight, however.
Despite Woodley’s interest in fighting Diaz, he will have to set his focus on “Wonderboy”, as the fight is a done deal. “The Chosen One” knew he would have to share the Octagon with Thompson again at some point, although he didn’t feel as if it needed to be an immediate rematch:
“It’s my goal to be the best welterweight ever,” Woodley said. “I always knew I’d have to fight him again, but I didn’t feel obligated to have to fight him next. Even if I had held out, or took another fight, or he fought somebody else, I knew I’d have to fight him again, he’s a high-level guy and he got here for a reason so he’d probably beat the other person to get here. So I knew i would fight him again but I didn’t feel I had to fight him next.”
While Diaz is certainly a big star and a fan favorite, although he hasn’t won a fight since 2011. Should the Stockton native have received a title shot upon his return, or did the UFC make the right call by booking Woodley-Thompson II?