Tyron Woodley “Not Interested” in Non Title Fight, Doesn’t See Rematch With Tarec Saffiedine Yet
By Kelsey Mowatt
Tyron Woodley hasn’t been shy about the fact that he’s wants a shot at the Strikeforce welterweight championship, and after working his way to a unanimous decision win over veteran slugger Paul Daley on July 30th, the undefeated fighter is more certain than ever that he deserves it.
“For me, I’m sitting here and trying to be patient, but fighting someone else at this point, if it’s not for the title I’m not interested man,” Woodley told FCF. “I’ve had six fights with Strikeforce and I’ve won all of them.”
Since Woodley signed with Strikeforce in 2009, the accomplished collegiate wrestler has scored victories over several established vets including Andre Galvao, the aforementioned Daley and Tarec Saffiedine, who is coming off a one sided decision win over Scott Smith. Saffiedine’s recent win drew praise from Strikeforce executive Scott Coker and others, leading some to conclude that the Team Quest fighter could be a front runner to face Woodley for the vacant welterweight belt.
“I think someone spin doctored that and Strikeforce didn’t say anything because they wanted to see the fan’s reaction to that,” said Woodley, while discussing the likelihood of facing Saffiedine for the welterweight title. “I honestly, with all due respect to Scott Smith who’s a cool guy, he’s not the same platform as Paul Daley. You know what I mean? His last fight he got knocked out by Paul Daley and Tarec’s last fight he got beat by me.”
“I don’t think his win over Scott puts him in a place to fight me,” Woodley added. “His last fight was a loss to me, so I don’t think losing to me, beating Scott Smith puts him in a title shot. I just don’t.”
One would be hard pressed to argue with Woodley that considering his 9-0 record and six consecutive wins under the Strikeforce banner, that he has entrenched himself in the championship mix. Questions remain, however, as to who will face Woodley if indeed he’s awarded a title shot.
“I think Strikeforce really thought about making this a world title fight and I think me and Paul wanted that,” Woodley said. “Now that I won I think they’re wondering what are they going to do now? If Paul had won they would have been in the same spot.”
Although since Zuffa acquired Strikeforce the company has insisted that it’s “business as usual” for the promotion, speculation has remained rampant as to whether it will eventually be merged into the larger UFC. The departure of former welterweight champion Nick Diaz and subsequent release of former heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem has only furthered the discussion. In other words, one has to wonder just how long the Strikeforce welterweight division is going to be around.
“There’s so much speculation, and there’s such a rumour mill, it’s hard to say what will happen,” said Woodley. “It’s not going to be great for everyone if Strikeforce comes apart, but I got to say, I’m in a pretty good spot right now. I’m not too worried…If I win the Strikeforce belt and I’m the last champion in history then I go to the UFC and fight the guys I’m supposed to fight. If it doesn’t, at the end of the day, I’m doing well.”
Although it’s hard to say what would have happened if Diaz would not have left Strikeforce to fight UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, by surveying the promotion’s welterweight division as it stands now, a Woodley, Diaz bout would have been likely.
“I’m not disappointed,” said Woodley while discussing the fact that a bout with Diaz no longer appears to be a short term possibility. “I fight as a sport and I fight for the competition, so all the people that take this personal, I don’t do that. If Nick Diaz is over there who knows? Maybe I’ll fight him at some point. Before he left, in my mind I was going to fight Daley and then him in that order…The lens was only on him because he was the world champ.”