Before Tyron Woodley gets his money fight with Nate Diaz, he has to get by arguably the most imposing opponent of his UFC career to date: Dana White.
The UFC president and the UFC welterweight champion have traded barbs in the media as of late, with Woodley claiming the UFC offered him a fight against Diaz and White coming out and saying it wasn’t true. White also threatened the UFC would consider taking legal action if Woodley keeps saying it. It’s gotten to the point where Rashad Evans, Woodley’s co-host on UFC Tonight and someone who has had many run-ins with White over the years, has spoke up and said Woodley needs to stop arguing with White as it’s a fight he can’t win. After all, White calls the shots in the UFC.
As good of a fighter as Woodley is, and by the number’s he’s one of the most successful welterweight champions in UFC history, taking on White is pointless. The UFC already knows that Woodley wants to fight Diaz and not Rafael dos Anjos — which is the fight the UFC wants to make — but the UFC isn’t interested in having Woodley pick and choose his opponents. White has made it clear he’s the boss and that the UFC wants Woodley to fight RDA next, and also that Woodley doesn’t have much say in the matter. That hasn’t stopped the UFC welterweight champ from trying yet, but he’ll have to give up soon.
Although Woodley is on a terrific, undefeated run, with wins over the likes of Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, Kelvin Gastelum and Robbie Lawler within the last three years, he still has hit doubters. As impressive as the KO win over Lawler was, MMA fans have short memories and all they can remember is his last fight, a five-round snoozer against Maia that set a UFC record for least number of strikes attempted in a 25-minute title fight.
The UFC clearly does not view Woodley as deserving of a “money fight” against someone like Diaz, or Georges St-Pierre back when Woodley was chasing him, because otherwise they would have booked that fight already. White and the UFC want Woodley to go out there and prove he can win the fans over and draw pay-per-view buys, because right now there’s no proof that he’s an A-side attraction, as much as he thinks he is.
Woodley is a tremendous fighter. He’s strong, powerful, and smart. He has fought the best of the best at welterweight in the UFC and Strikeforce and for the most part has proven he’s an elite talent. But he still hasn’t proven he can draw. Unless your name is Conor McGregor, who has proven he can draw time and time again, the UFC doesn’t let their champions pick-and-choose opponents. Look at Demetrious Johnson, who White tried to bully into a superfight against TJ Dillashaw.
At this point in time, it’s best for Woodley to suck it up, take the RDA fight, go out there and knock him out, and then call out for a money fight again. As impressive as the Lawler KO was, Woodley has fought three times since then and many fans have forgot about that since his last three fights have gone the distance. All the fans can remember is the Maia fight, which was a boring fight, and Woodley needs to go out there, get another finish, and change that perception of himself.
Last week I wrote about how the Woodley vs. Diaz fight was still alive, but in the past week it’s become clear the UFC is not interested in that fight but rather Woodley vs. RDA. Woodley might not be interested in that fight, but his employer is, and if White and the UFC want him to fight RDA, then he’ll have to take the fight or else risk having his belt stripped of him. Woodley is going to keep going after Diaz — and you can’t blame a prize fighter for wanting the biggest prize available to him, but at this point it’s looking like he’ll have to acquiesce to the UFC and take the fight that’s offered to him. Woodley has fought and defeated some of the toughest men on Earth, but Woodley vs. White is a fight Woodley can’t and won’t win, and it’s time for him to concede defeat and move on with his career.
Should Woodley continue to fight with White in public or should he take the RDA fight and prove himself to the UFC? Discuss below.