It took a while, but after the numerous digs Tyron Woodley and his manager sent former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight titleholder Johny Hendricks' way, "The Chosen One" finally got the bout he was looking for last month.
Woodley, a former Strikeforce Welterweight title challenger and current No. 3-ranked fighter in UFC's 170-pound division, boasts power in his hands and NCAA Division-I All-American wrestling credentials that have hoisted him to a 5-2 Octagon record.
Though he used to focus "so far ahead" on earning a title shot, his sight is set on the task at hand, which is dispatching former college wrestling foe "Bigg Rigg," who is fighting close to home in Houston, Texas (Sat. Oct. 3, 2015), in the co-main event of the UFC 192 pay-per-view (PPV).
"This is like a three-round title fight to me mentally," Woodley said during the UFC 192 media conference call. "It's only a matter of time. You can't deny, I will be the world champion."
The fact that Hendricks was slotted opposite "T-Wood" remains a mystery to some.
After UFC passed over the Oklahoman earlier this year, placing Rory MacDonald in the No. 1 contender spot versus champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 last July, many expected Hendricks to face his pal "Ruthless" in a trilogy match next following his one-sided drubbing of Welterweight contender Matt Brown back in March at UFC 185.
However, the promotion saw things differently once again and instead went with a "Natural Born Killer" as the next challenger to Lawler's crown, which will take place at UFC 195 on Jan. 2, 2016.
The 32-year-old has been criticized for his wrestling-heavy approach in recent fights, particularly in his second tussle with Lawler and his last Octagon exchange with "The Immortal," but it hasn't gotten to him and it's something that, like Hendricks himself maintains, Woodley feels he shouldn't have to change.
"You're never going to satisfy the fans. You have to be able to look in the mirror at the end of the day and be satisfied with what you were able to go out and do," said Woodley. "When did the sport become satisfying the fans? When did getting a title shot mean jumping off the cage and doing the perculator?"
I mean, the dance is pretty funny.
With all of the chatter surrounding title shots at 170 pounds, and given where the pair are at in UFC's official rankings, it would appear that the winner of this high-profile fight receiving a chance to challenge for gold in the near future is a foregone conclusion.
Not that a title shot can be revoked on a whim or anything.
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