Tyron Woodley made a huge statement by submitting touted rising star Darren Till (full highlights here) in the main event of last night’s (Sat., September 8, 2018) UFC 228 from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
The impressive win came amongst “USA! USA!” chants from the Texas crowd as he fought off the Liverpool-born Till. It would seem the victory would have earned hated champion Woodley some more fans, and indeed it may have. But it seemingly hasn’t earned him any more respect from UFC President Dana White, with whom he has a well-documented history of beef.
So his relationship with his employers may still be rocky, so much so that Ariel Helwani asked how he could he mend the fence with his employers. Woodley responded he could only keep winning.
“Just keep winning. That’s all I gotta do is keep winning.”
Woodley’s case is somewhat similar to that of all-time great former UFC champion Anderson Silva, who had several fights where he clowned around and drew the ire of White. But after several highlight-reel stoppages in a row, he finally earned the adulation of the fans and the respect of White.
So Woodley told Helwani he had not even spoken to White after his UFC 228 win. All he could he do, he said, was keep winning:
Ariel: What did he (Dana) say to you afterwards?
Woodley: I didn’t speak to him. I just won. That’s what champions do. They win, right?
Indeed that’s what champions do. It worked for ‘The Spider,’ at least eventually, as he became one of the biggest stars MMA has ever seen by knocking out a long list of well-known fighters. Woodley appears to be planning on doing the same, and after he ended his streak of extremely boring title fights by submitting Till, he could be on his way to just that.
Whether or not the fans, and perhaps more importantly for him, White, cooperates remains to be seen.
Fighters who run afoul of the polarizing UFC exec tend to stay there, yet as Silva can attest, all is not lost. What’s next for the UFC longest-reigning and most underappreciated champion?