UFC middleweight champion Tyron Woodley is a wise man. Most fighters winning the world championship offer bloody praise for God and scream. But those brief post-fight moments are an extraordinary opportunity to advocate for whatever the champion determines is in his or her best interests.
Before Woodley left the Octagon after defeating Robbie Lawler at UFC 201, he had called for money fights with former UFC welterweight champion and fan favorite Nick Diaz. GSP was game and Diaz said “show me the money.” #1 contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson said politely “If they don’t give this to me, then something is really wrong, wouldn’t you say?”
However, talks between GSP and the UFC broke down, and Diaz was at odds with the Nevada Athletic Commission over repaying a fine; the fight ended up being vs. Wonderboy after all.
It ended in a draw, and UFC president Dana White indicated that a rematch was in order. However, smart professional fighters fight to make money. And Woodley is not convinced that he can maximize the champion’s cut of a PPV via a rematch with Thompson.
Woodley and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have both discussed fighting each other, but Notorious is taking a break until May, when he and longtime partner Dee Devlin expect their first child. So once again, Woodley has called out Nick Diaz.
The UFC has received frequent criticism for not always giving the #1 contender a title fight, and instead making fights the audience wants to see. These are also the fights that the champ wants. Given that the UFC has to make a return on the four billion dollars invested by WME-IMG and the buyer group they put together, there are going to be more of these fights, not less. The champion and the fans will be happy.