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'Smashed in the middle,' new Welterweight champ Tyron Woodley explains disinterest in helping promote UFC 201

Perhaps the least desirable pay-per-view (PPV) event for a fighter to be featured on this year outside of UFC 199 -- because, "who wants to be on 199?" -- was UFC 201, which took place late last month (July 30, 2016) inside Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. That's because most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were more interested in the historic UFC 200 show and the upcoming UFC 202 event that features the must grudge match between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.

Indeed, "Lawler vs. Woodley" was lost in the mix. And it didn't help that then-Welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler, was not blessed with the gift of gab. On the contrary, "Ruthless" rarely talks trash, preferring instead to let his savage sizzle reel of knockouts and finishes serve as his self promotion.

So when fight week finally arrived, based on the mix of circumstances, Woodley admits that he didn't really feel the motivation to go above and beyond the call of promotional duty.

"Fight week, I don't want to be trying to promote this fight," Woodley recently told FOX Sports 1's Jason Whitlock. "I didn't feel obligated to push the fight that week, especially when Robbie isn't a very conversational guy — he's not just going to go over the top to promote a fight. They had UFC 200, which was projected to be the biggest [event], then they had the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight, and I just felt like we were smashed in the middle of those two fights. But, I do think my performance spoke for itself. And whether it was promoted or not, it projected me forward."

That's an understatement -- "T-Wood" returned from a self-imposed 18-month hiatus and smashed Lawler in the first round, scoring a savage knockout to claim the 170-pound strap (watch video highlights here). And he didn't have an issue immediately kicking off his self promotion, calling out Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre for future "money fights."

Of course, that didn't sit so well with current Welterweight No. 1 contender, Stephen Thompson, but it's the dawn of a new -- and very unpredictable -- era of unlikely champions. And Woodley intends to take full advantage now that he's in the driver's seat.

Who knows, that could include fight week promotion, too.

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