Tyron Woodley was being criticized for the wins he racked up against all challengers from the top of his division in Demian Maia, and Stephen Thompson the two times they fought. Meanwhile, Darren Till got a heavy push by the UFC when he finished Donald Cerrone. Till and his undefeated record were presented to Woodley after his own absence to recover from an injury and Woodley reminded fans of why he holds the welterweight title in the UFC.
Justin Gaethje is arguably the most entertaining fighter in the lightweight division inside the cage, but even he comes under scrutiny for his style of fighting. The MMA community expresses concerns over the amount of damage he takes in a fight, but he is given credit for delivering entertainment. However, the concerns always loom about the longevity of his career.
Woodley showed at UFC 228 he can deliver dominating wins but he also underlined something he has been doing that does not seem to be accepted by his detractors, fighting the smartest fight against whoever stands in front of him. Even that has been made light of by the likes of Kamaru Usman, who was on standby for UFC 228.
Woodley had trouble taking Till down early on, but the attempts to do so and clinch-work would wear down Till and expose him to the thunderous right hand Woodley reminded fans of, and the pressure of his wrestling that lead to the submission that won him the fight. After the fight, Woodley said he knew that Till would not see the choke coming.
Woodley said the only surprise of the night was getting his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt from Din Thomas. The title he said he knew he was going to win because he is a “cerebral fighter”.
“People are just now starting to recognize that’s me,” Woodley told media after the fight. “I let everybody think I was this crazy, right-hand swinging, muscle calf having athlete and I let them think that. I milked the game, all the way until we got right here.”
Woodley says he will be ready to step up as the main event for Madison Square Garden in November if need be. He will face whoever the UFC puts in front of him and says fans will likely know as early as the coming week. Names like Colby Covington and Usman seem to top the list but Woodley plans on eventually topping the UFC’s pound-for-pound list and will take on all comers.
Who would you like to see fight Woodley next?
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel