Ahead of boxing clash with Jake Paul, we look back at 3 of the best moments of Tyron Woodley’s career.
The career of former champion Tyron Woodley has been a rollercoaster over the past five years. After an explosive first round finish of Robbie Lawler in 2016, Woodley spent two years fending off a wave of hungry challengers. From kickboxing technician Stephen Thompson to jiu-jitsu phenom Demian Maia, all fell to the hands of the seemingly unstoppable champion. Despite a run of less than desirable fights in recent years, Woodley’s era of domination has defined him as one of the best welterweights to ever do it. Ahead of his latest venture, a boxing showdown with Jake Paul, we take a look at three of the best moments of Woodley’s storied career.
MSG clash with Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson’s striking prestige can not be understated. After dethroning Lawler just four months prior, Woodley’s biggest challenge seemed to be ahead of him at UFC 205. In a co-main classic that showcased to fans the heart and grit of the newly crowned welterweight king, Woodley and Thompson went back and forth, round for round until the final bell. After a dominant opening round from Woodley, a bloody-faced Thompson was forced to re-evaluate his game plan. As the following rounds played out, Thompson began to find his range, getting loose with an array of dynamic strikes. Fans were once again shown the power of Woodley, as a fourth-round overhand right connected flush on Thompson’s chin. As the challenger survived the onslaught, we saw the fight go to the judges.
After a rare mishap from our beloved Bruce Buffer, the fight was announced as a majority draw. Earning fight of the night honors, the clash is unquestionably the best fight of Tyron Woodley’s career. We do not speak of the rematch, okay?
A black-belt worthy performance
In the lead up to the pair’s clash at UFC 228, Darren Till was on a roll. The undefeated prospect had tallied up 17 MMA victories, and was a favorite to dethrone Woodley. After a lackluster fight against Demian Maia, fans were eager to see Woodley return to his relentless form, and he delivered. After dropping Till with a right hand, the champ sunk in a D’arce choke that forced a grimacing Till to tap. The submission not only put a halt to the fans doubts, but earned him his jiu-jitsu black belt, courtesy of Din Thomas.
Claiming gold against “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
The 2015/2016 version of Lawler is something of a treasure within the MMA community. It’s an indescribable thing, a kind of “you had to be there” scenario. After back-to-back classics against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit, one question was ripe in fans minds: who in the right mind wants to fight this guy next?
Woodley came into the fight as calm as ever, unruffled by the impending killer that was Lawler. After a composed opening few minutes, Woodley’s deadly right sent Lawler off his feet, and a new era in the welterweight division had begun. The seemingly immovable force that was Lawler had been cast aside with ease, and fans were awed by the power and technique of the new champion. One of the greatest welterweight reigns started that night, a reign of dominance.