Tyron Woodley wants to be in “the super fights” in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but before he can match up against champions from other divisions, the welterweight titlist must get through his bout with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 209 tonight.
Fighting in the main event of UFC 209, Woodley will rematch with Thompson after their first bout was a majority draw in UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York City back in November. And Woodley wants to punctuate his series against Thompson with a victory.
“It’s a chapter that I wanted to close,” Woodley said. “Obviously, you see the sport and the sport’s crazy. Guys are mixing up weight divisions and super fights, and for you not to put your name into the hat for some of those fights is silly, but I knew at one point, I was going to have to fight him and close that chapter, so I’m excited to do that this weekend.”
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Woodley trains with world-renown kickboxer Duke Roufus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
By having to defend the title in an immediate rematch, Woodley again had to relocate to Milwaukee and miss almost all of his son’s wrestling season. Although Woodley saw his son win a state championship, he plans on making Thompson pay for the time away from his family.
“Man, I missed the entire season,” Woodley said. “Wonderboy, I put that on his tab. I didn’t get to watch my sons wrestle. I was in training camp the entire time. I made the last meet of the entire season, and my boys were doing a great job without me. My little league coach coached them, literally pulled him out of retirement, and it just hurt me to have to watch practice through a camera.
“I’ve got cameras in my gym where I can watch the practice. I had to see the videos of the matches after the fact, and I wasn’t able to be there as a dad, especially in the sport of wrestling, where I can (help). If they were doing golf or something else, I can’t really contribute there, but wrestling, I can contribute quite a bit and I didn’t have a chance to do that.”
Originally, after the majority draw, Woodley wanted to move on to a new opponent, but the karate practitioner from South Carolina was awarded an immediate rematch at UFC 209, an opportunity that has not been lost on the champion.
“I’m in the best shape, man,” Woodley said. “My coaches, they’ll tell you I was ready to fight last week, so this week, I don’t have any fear, any anxiety. I have nothing to hold back. I can do whatever I want to in The Octagon. I know I’ve got the conditioning. I know I’ve got the mindset to fight through, and I haven’t felt that in a long time, to just go out there and do whatever the hell I want to do.”