UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley just detailed several advantages heading into his UFC 228 title fight against Darren Till.
Don’t tell the current longest-reigning UFC champion that he’s old. He believes that is just in poor taste. But that’s exactly what one reporter started to do at a media luncheon earlier this week. However, Woodley was able to stop the reported dead in his tracts when he jokingly said don’t go there.
Woodley then proceeded to ask himself some questions to get the ball rolling.
“Who’s the fastest welterweight in the division? Who’s the most powerful welterweight in the division, and who’s the most experienced welterweight in the division?” Woodley said. “So what advantages do you have, because you’re 24 years old, that I don’t have?”
The fast-rising Brit is actually 25 years old, but Woodley’s point remains the same.
He’s dealt with these types of challenges before. After all, when “The Chosen One” first battled Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 “Wonderboy” was thought to be the next big thing much like Till.
“It’s not the first young, undefeated fighter that I’ve fought. Kelvin Gastelum was that guy, too, right?” Woodley said of the build-up to his 2015 bout with “The Ultimate Fighter” winner. “He had what it took: ‘Oh, he’s young, he can wrestle, blah blah blah.’ So I’m right back in the same position. It’s so funny that I consistently end up in this same position, that the people that I’m facing are the ones that they’re looking so far ahead.”
“So, once again, I’ll be the spoiler. I’ll mess up the plans, and I’ll continue to be the world champion.”
Despite some mild trash talking from both guys leading up to next weekends UFC 228 main event, Woodley respects Till’s game. Specifically the Brit’s unflappable belief in his own skills and talents. But “The Chosen One” does see some glaring differences between Till and himself.
“I feel like I’ve got to make my game plan of what I’m doing based upon an intelligent fighter breaking me down and seeing his weaknesses and seeing what he can exploit on me,” Woodley said. “The only difference is you’ve seen me wrestle in matches, you’ve seen me strike in matches, you’ve seen me grapple in matches, you’ve seen me brawl in matches, you’ve seen me have to put on the thinking cap and have a chess match. He has one style of fighting. He has one way to win this fight. And if you add in his youth and his hunger and his confidence, he’s a very difficult matchup. But I think I have so many different ways to win this fight.”
“Confidence ain’t enough. Being tough ain’t enough. I want it just as much as he wants it. I don’t want to be a challenger again. You know, life as a champion and life as a challenger are two separate things. I want to continue to have a platform to use to inspire and motivate to do positive things with. I want to consistently be able to provide a lifestyle for my family, so they have opportunities that I didn’t have as a kid. And he wants to take that away from me. So now it’s on.”
Public perception has been such that Woodley appears to be doing too much. There is, of course, his rap album and the frequent appearances on TMZ. Those cant possibly help Woodley’s image. But the champ is quick to point out, that’s not reality, that just public perception.
“I think the narrative has been portrayed as Tyron is so focused on entertainment, music, Hollywood, the ESPYs, he’s partying, he’s doing this stuff, he’s got all this new drip, and this young kid is so hungry, and he ain’t seen this kid in a year, and he don’t care, and he want the title so bad, duh duh. I’m gonna let that become the narrative,” Woodley said.”
“Meanwhile I’m training like a madman, and meanwhile he’s gonna get his ass whooped.”
Watch Tyron Woodley’s media day luncheon here (courtesy of MMA Junkie):