Ben Askren has no doubt about Tyron Woodley’s chances at another successful title defense on July 29.
Woodley will defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight gold against Demian Maia. The title bout will be on the main card of UFC 214. Askren, who is the reigning ONE Championship welterweight title holder, has been helping Woodley prepare for his upcoming scrap.
“Funky” recently appeared on BJ Penn Radio and explained why the fight plays into the champion’s hands:
“It’s nice to be able to finally help [Woodley], you know? He’s been fighting Stephen Thompson, and me and Stephen Thompson’s fighting styles have no resemblance to each other whatsoever. I can wrestle with him, but it wasn’t like me wrestling with him was going to be relevant to his Stephen Thompson fight that much, right? Whereas, the Demian Maia fight, that’s right up my alley, because all the wrestling things that Demian Maia does, I can do better. Maybe I can’t do the ground stuff quite as well as Demian, but I can still give him a really good look there. So yeah, it’s nice to finally be able to be a real help for [Woodley].”
There’s no doubting Maia’s status as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace. The problem is, Askren doesn’t believe Maia will even be able to take the fight to the ground.
“The thing is, I don’t think it’s going to hit the floor. That’s the thing about it. You know, Demian Maia’s takedowns are… they’re basic. The one thing he does well is he really sticks with it. But you look at his recent run of success, and he hasn’t really had to fight any high-level wrestlers. And even Jorge Masvidal, – I don’t want to say [he has] no wrestling background, I’m not 100% sure – I don’t think he has any wrestling background, was able to stop some of the takedowns, you know? And so, when you look at Tyron Woodley who has a very strong wrestling background, I just don’t see a scenario in which Demian Maia is able to get Tyron on the ground.”