Tyron Woodley Doesn’t Think Paul Daley Believes “a Lot of the Things he’s Saying”
By Kelsey Mowatt
On July 30th, rising welterweight Tryon Woodley could entrench a shot at the Strikeforce welterweight title, provided he defeats veteran Paul Daley. A win would not only extend Woodley’s pro record to 9-0, it would be the collegiate wrestling champ’s seventh under the Strikeforce banner. Few would likely argue that it’s the kind of run that leads to title fights.
In a recent interview with ESPN UK, however, the outspoken Daley expressed his doubts about whether Woodley has in fact demonstrated that he’s worthy of the praise he’s been receiving. According to Daley, Woodley’s opponents have been “handpicked” by Strikeforce, in an effort to groom the 29 year-old-fighter into a star.
“I really don’t believe Paul Daley believes a lot of the things he’s saying,” Woodley told FCF. “I’m going to shake his hand, look him in his eyes, and for me, that’s how you determine a person feels; how confident they are and whether they feel you’re at another level than they are.”
Since signing with Strikeforce in 2009 Woodley has scored victories over several veterans, including Tarec Saffiedine, which Daley cited as the fighter’s most noteworthy to date.
“I definitely don’t feel he likes the match-up number one,” said Woodley, who prior to defeating Saffiedine by decision in January, knocked out accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioner Andre Galvao. “Number two, I’m a tougher fight than he had in the beginning, and now that I’m 8-0, each fight has been the right fight at that point in my career….You’ve got 30 fights. I can go back on your record and let me check out your first eight opponents. Then was your fight number nine a guy in the top ten? I know it wasn’t.”
One of the key storylines behind the upcoming July 30th bout in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is whether Daley (27-10-2) will be able to keep the bout standing against Woodley, to make use of his now infamous strikes. Although Woodley has certainly has made use of his pugilistic skills in the Strikeforce cage, one would think that at some juncture he will look to exploit Daley on the ground.
“I think Paul is going to have difficulties in every area,” said Woodley, when asked whether his extensive wrestling skills will be the key to winning the fight. “I’m really motivated for this fight; I really want to get this fight in the books. He’s going to have to deal with my wrestling; me coming from different angles, me coming with strikes, I’m not just the basic MMA wrestler.”
“I don’t plan on going out there and just doing wrestling,” Woodley added. “I’m not doing a fifteen minute match without throwing some punches, so if he thinks that’s going to happen he has a whole other thing coming. I think he’s going to be thinking so much about what I’m doing, it’s going to stop him from what he does best, and that’s dig in his heels and turn really hard on his punches, try to knock guys out.”
For several months now, Woodley has been vocal about his desires to bring the Strikeforce welterweight belt back to his hometown of St. Louis. Although he has to face Daley first, it would appear as though Woodley is within striking distance of making that dream come true.
“I appreciated fans voting me the rising star of 2010 but I told them then that in 20011, you’re going to see this guy go from a contender to a champion,” said Woodley. “I don’t plan on not following through with my promise. This fight is a contenders fight…me winning this fight shows that I’m deserving of that title shot.”