It's rare that a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholder is marked an underdog coming into a championship fight, especially if that same fighter is coming off a first-round knockout of mixed martial arts (MMA) barbarian Robbie Lawler. Well, that's exactly where current UFC welterweight king Tyron Woodley finds himself as he gears up for his first title defense opposite Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
But despite the underdog label that "The Chosen One" will wear when he makes the walk to the Octagon on one of the biggest cards of all time, it hasn't deterred him one bit. In fact, Woodley believes his fights turn out better when he's supposed to lose.
"I like being the underdog," said Woodley in a recent interview on UFC Tonight (courtesy of FOX Sports). "I think my last five or six fights I've been the underdog, and I've only lost one. In general, statistically showing, I do well as the underdog."
Woodley's past Octagon victories not only include a split-second bashing of "Ruthless" at UFC 201, but also finishes over Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim and former UFC staple Josh Koscheck. But against someone as unique and puzzling as "Wonderboy," the new welterweight champion will also rely on his pre-fight preparation to show he's going to be the man in charge come Nov. 12.
"I don't think I'll be the underdog before the fight when they see how I'm training, when they see my focus, when they see what I'm bringing to the table," added Woodley. "When I was fighting Kelvin Gastelum, I was the underdog. But to answer your question, I think that his [Thompson] fight style has been frustrating for a lot of people."
Considering Thompson has battered the likes of former champion Johny Hendricks and former UFC contender Rory MacDonald en route to claiming No. 1 contender rights, Woodley may be biting off more than he can chew at UFC 205. But with everyone expecting him to relinquish his title and move over for the next UFC superstar, Woodley will have little pressure to combat when the cage door locks behind him in MSG.
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