Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 235: “Jones vs Smith” pay-per-view (PPV) event blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena this past weekend (Sat., March 2, 2019) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Robbie Lawler, who suffered a highly-controversial submission loss to Ben Askren in Welterweight action (recap). And Anthony Smith, who failed to dethrone Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the main event (highlights).
But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?
Going into his co-headlining title fight against Kamaru Usman, Woodley was looking to score his fourth straight title defense in hopes of adding to his claim of being the greatest 170-pound fighter ever. Furthermore, a win over Usman would finally set up a much-desired grudge match against bitter rival, Colby Covington. Instead, the night turned out to be a nightmare for Woodley.
A “Nigerian Nightmare.”
From the opening bell, Usman was determined to set the pace of the fight, taking it to “The Chosen One,” who was content with playing defense. And that’s pretty much how the entire fight played out, with Usman winning the striking battles and dominating the grappling department with ease.
It was a rather lackluster and surprising performance from Woodley, who failed to pop off any noticeable offense whatsoever. It got to the point where his cornerman, Din Thomas, was visibly upset in between rounds. When it was all said and done, Usman cruised his way to a blowout win over Woodley, ending his three-year title reign (highlights).
Afterward, Woodley didn’t offer up any excuses for his performance, which is admirable, simply saying it was an off night.
“I beat a lot of ass in my day. I’ve also been knocked down and had to bounce back up. I can give you a million excuses on earth, but I can tell you right now that I was prepared and ready,” Woodley said during the UFC 235 post-fight press conference. “Sometimes you just go out there and have those fights where it’s a bad dream. You want to punch hard but you don’t punch.
“You want to move forward but you’re stepping back,” he continued. “I had too many moments in there and Kamaru, he came out and he won. I still believe I’m the greatest welterweight of all time. Now, my path is getting back to the belt. Sometimes, everyone thinks proving that is that you were on a streak and you don’t lose or you were undefeated. But sometimes the greatest champions have to face adversity and bounce back and win. So I am looking to run that fight back.”
As for what could be next for Woodley, a rematch against Lawler sounds fitting.
Yes, Dana White did say he wants to be a rematch between Askren and Lawler, but “Funky” already revealed he would pass on the offer, paving the way for “Ruthless” and “The Chosen One” to go at it one more time. Woodley’s run began when he dethroned Lawler back in 2016, so what better way to start his quest back to the top?
For complete UFC 235: “Jones vs. Smith” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.