Winning two fights in a row, first against Josh Koscheck at UFC 167 and more recently against Carlos Condit at UFC 171 (video), Tyron Woodley was on the fast track to a welterweight title shot.
All he had to do was get through his next foe, as "The Chosen One" was booked to face Rory MacDonald in a No. 1 contender's bout at UFC 174 on June 14, 2014 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
But after Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown was booked to headline UFC on FOX 12, Woodley and MacDonald saw their title fight hopes slowly begin to diminish as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White dubbed the "Ruthless" showdown a true No. 1 contenders fight.
While he initially didn't take the news well, Woodley says it is now up to his performance against MacDonald to change some minds over at the Zuffa front office, as he revealed on The MMA Hour, that he knows he can outperform all of the top welterweights in the world to prove he's deserving of the next title shot.
"My initial reaction was obviously not excited. I wasn't jumping over the fence and looking for rainbows in the sky. For me, I was pretty upset because I was told verbally through Dana White and Lorenzo that I would fight this kid in his hometown, and the winner of this bout would get a shot at the world title. For me, I thought the risk matched the reward. I was prepared to go up to this kid's hometown, steal the show and upset the party in his own hometown. In my mind it was worth doing that for a shot at the world title. I'm a man of my word. I've trained hard for this fight, I've put all my ducks in one basket. I'm going up there and I'm going up there to win and I think that no fighter in the history of UFC has ever had etched in their contract that if you win this bout against this guy, your guaranteed a UFC world title fight. Though they said that, I think performance conquers all. I think I can go out their and outperform all of those guys. I will have beaten the No. 2 guy back-to-back. So I think I put myself in that category to fight for a world title. I think if the fans get behind me and really rally up, I think you still can see me fighting for the world title. I didn't put too much into it. I think people always remember your last performance and I'm going to give them something to remember."
Admitting he's a fan of Brown and his win streak, Woodley believes his first four outings inside the Octagon against tough competition are just as impressive.
But he'll need to have an even better showing against "Ares," another welterweight who believes he's long overdue for a crack at the division crown, to prove he deserves to leapfrog "Ruthless" or "Immortal" for a fight against division kingpin, Johny Hendricks.
Can he get it done?