With Suspension Over, Tyron Woodley Wants Nick Diaz Not 'Wonderboy'

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Tyron Woodley waited 17 months to get his shot at the welterweight champion, and now that he has toppled the great Robbie Lawler, he is utilizing his new championship status to maximize his earning potential.

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson isn’t a fighter who is known for busting his adversaries’ chops, but he clearly upset Woodley with his prediction of a Lawler win.

“I would rather fight Robbie Lawler, and I think Robbie Lawler is going to win it,” Thompson said after underlining his status as number one contender with a win over Rory MacDonald in June.

“He’s stayed active. Tyron Woodley hasn’t. Maybe there is a little bit of cage rust in there. Tyron’s been known to slow down later on in the rounds, and Robbie Lawler, he gets stronger as the rounds go on. So, I see Robbie Lawler winning that fight and I would love to fight him, hopefully in New York City.”

‘Wonderboy’ was bright-eyed and bushy tailed in his analyst capacity for Fox Sports at UFC 201. When it came time for him to talk to the newly crowned champion of his division, Thompson must have been surprised when Woodley encouraged him to fight Lawler.

“This is what I think,” Woodley replied after Thompson asked about them competing against each other. “I think you said you wanted to fight Robbie Lawler and now you’ll get an opportunity to fight Robbie Lawler.

“I think Nick Diaz comes off suspension in two days. He’s a money fight. I’m and OG, I’ve been in this game for a while. I want to make the big dough. If he wants to fight in August with his brother Nate Diaz, I think me and him could throw down at that event.

“August, I’m ready to go at 202. Let’s make some money. I think he deserves it. I think he puts enough butts in seats. I think he deserves to make that payday.”

As cited by Woodley, Nick Diaz is now free to compete against after sitting out the last 18 months after allegedly testing positive for marijuana at UFC 183.

Although most people thought Lawler’s loss would open up a rematch to one of the most exciting welterweight fights ever contested in the Octagon, for some strange reason, in the current UFC climate, Woodley’s suggestion of facing Diaz for the championship on his return doesn’t seem all that peculiar.

The Entertainment Era

In the current era, all but three of UFC’s ten titles have changed hands in the last year. While we haven’t had the same dominance that Demetrious Johnson has showcased at the top of the other divisions, the revolving door that comes along with the championship belts has been quite entertaining for MMA fans.

At the next UFC pay-per-view, Conor McGregor will take on Nate Diaz at welterweight – a bout that has no bearing on championship trajectory. The sole purpose of this bout is to capitalize off the interest that was created when Diaz upset the Irishman back in March. The fact that it was initially slated for the main event of UFC 200 proves that the promotion puts as much as value on entertainment as it does in sport.

Despite going 2-3 in his last five outings and beating Hector Lombard who was contesting his first bout at 185 lbs in years, number 13 ranked Dan Henderson will now take on Michael Bisping for the middleweight title in October. Despite the 45-year-old admitting that he wanted to retire after his win over Lombard, the allure of a rematch with his UFC 100 rival proved too strong for the Californian.

Nick Diaz has not tasted a victory in the Octagon since his return to the promotion. He battered former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn into retirement, but since then he has come up on the wrong end of decisions to some of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport – Carlos Condit, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.

When Diaz received his suspension, there was a mass outcry for the MMA anti-hero. One of the most beloved fighters in the history of the promotion, there is no doubt that a contest pitting him against Woodley for the title would go down well with the fans. The fact that his brother’s celebrity status has also gotten a big push from the McGregor bout will only help him ahead of his return to the Octagon.

There are far more options for Diaz than Woodley. With his old rival St-Pierre looking to make a comeback, Diaz would definitely love the chance to get in there with the former welterweight title holder for the second time. The MMA universe has been crying out for a rematch between Lawler and Diaz, and should that be slated, it would definitely a big enough draw to headline a card.  ​


Check out this related story:

UFC 201 Quick Results: Woodley Wins Welterweight Title with First-Round KO