Tyron Woodley is on top of the world. After defeating Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 in a rematch from their UFC 205 draw, the reigning welterweight champion can sit back and enjoy life as king. During his current downtime, Woodley will have the opportunity to watch teammate Jorge Masvidal attempt to upset Demian Maia at UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas, Texas. Both men are vying for divisional supremacy, while Maia is presumably one win away from challenging Woodley for the belt later this year.
Woodley had the following to say about the impending matchup in a recent interview with BJPenn.com:
“It is unfortunate for Demian Maia because as per the old rule work, you know the pure sport, he is the most deserving of a title shot. He was more deserving of a title shot against me than Stephen Wonderboy (Thompson) was for a repeat (UFC 209). Now look at him. He is matched up against a guy who just recently came to the welterweight division. This is a guy (Jorge Masvidal) who had a decent, but not exceptional career in the UFC’s lightweight division that is a nightmare match-up for him. I honestly don’t see how he is going to pull this win out against Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal has some of the best boxing in mixed martial arts. He is probably one of the top three boxers in all of the UFC right now. Plus he is hard to takedown. And now, with not having to cut as much weight, he is very fast and super sharp. So if Demian Maia can’t take Jorge down, how is he going to defeat him? So with that said I am not planning to fight Maia, because my gut tells me he is about to lose his place in line.”
Obviously Woodley is going to stand behind his teammate and mention all the things Masvidal does right, but it’s an interesting matchup nonetheless. Masvidal is one of the most well-rounded fighters at 170 pounds and has been on an absolute tear of late, finishing Donald Cerrone and Jake Ellenberger in successive knockouts.
Of course, Maia is a different animal. He has sliced through top welterweight competition with elite grappling over the past three years and has never looked better. While Masvidal hasn’t been submitted since 2009, and possesses a 80 percent UFC takedown defense, he’s going to have to be at an all-time best to defeat Maia at UFC 211 and steal the Brazilian’s “place in line.”