It seems as though Tyron Woodley can’t catch a break with mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. Sure, "Chosen One" is now the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion after knocking out fan-favorite Robbie Lawler several months ago, but the respect, according to Woodley, still isn’t completely there.
During a recent guest spot on "The MMA Hour," Woodley addressed the issue, talking about the heat he received after he asked for "big-money" fights, a move many saw as Woodley trying to duck Stephen Thompson, the rightful No. 1 contender. Couple that with all of the negative comments he receives from combat fans on social media, Woodley’s title reign thus far hasn’t been a popular one.
Nevertheless, Woodley claims the lack of love and abundance of criticism he receives doesn’t bother him one bit. But, as he proclaimed, his case will probably one like Muhammad Ali’s in which he likely won’t get the respect he deserves until he’s retired from the sport.
"I don’t take nothing to heart, that’s what makes me a great businessman because I don’t get emotional and I know that at the end of the day, when I fight, I am going to do what I am supposed to do, which is win. The more I do that, the more you are not going to be able to deny me. I may be like a Muhammad Ali to where he didn’t get credit until after he retired. And I’m not, for you fans that are like, ‘He’s comparing himself to Muhammad Ali.’ I am not comparing myself to Muhammad Ali, people. What I am saying is that a lot of you guys love Muhammad Ali now, but during his era, when he was fighting, no one liked Muhammad Ali and a lot of people hate Muhammad Ali and then after he finished, then people started giving him the credit that he deserves. If that’s the case, fine. But, the people that train me, my family, my kids, my wife, my legacy, everything that I am doing now, those supporters are instantly being rewarded because they have seen me broke, beatdown with no money and getting cut short. now, I cut to the front of the line and nobody likes it. Well guess what, I am sorry I don’t feel bad about it."
Still, Woodley doesn’t deny the fact that it is a little frustrating to now get some certain level of respect as champion -- even within his own promotion -- seeing as how he always gave respect where respect was due. Heck, even oddsmakers aren’t giving him the love in his first-ever title defense, which is set to come at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016, against the aforementioned Thompson.
Not that he minds, though.