Former long-reigning welterweight champion Tyron Woodley got absolutely thrashed by Kamaru Usman at UFC 235, losing his first fight (and his welterweight title) in almost five years.
Prior to the Usman fight, ‘T-Wood’ battered Darren Till to retain his welterweight strap at UFC 228, winning the bout via second-round submission.
But according to Till, who will look to rebound from that loss when he takes on street-fighter turned MMA technician Jorge Masvidal this weekend at UFC Fight Night 147, the Tyron Woodley that submitted him at UFC 228 wasn’t the same Woodley that showed up against ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ earlier this month.
With that said, Till still thinks Usman put on a fantastic performance.
“To me, and this is no disrespect to Usman in no way: I actually sent Usman a message after the fight congratulating him and saying I can’t wait to fight,” Till told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I know Usman was chasing me a while back, but now it’s obviously me chasing him. But it just didn’t seem to me like the Woodley team turned up to fight like they did (against) me.”
“As much as Usman looked so, so good in there like a top-level fighter, Woodley just didn’t seem like the same Woodley as we’ve seen previously,” Till continued. “And he’ll still go down as one of the best ever. He just didn’t seem like the guy we knew. And that’s not to take anything away from Usman. He perfected that strategy. But it was a weird fight.”
Woodley, who feels he’s deserving of an immediate rematch with Usman, chalked his underwhelming performance at UFC 235 down to a ‘draining moment’ he couldn’t explain.
As for Till, should he beat ‘Gamebred’ this Saturday the Liverpudlian would prefer to rematch Woodley rather than go on to challenge Usman for the welterweight title.
“If you said to me, ‘What would you prefer: title shot or a rematch?’ I’d want the rematch,” he said. “I just want to avenge that one loss and prove I’m better than him.”
UFC Fight Night: Till vs. Masvidal takes place Saturday, March 16 at the O2 Arena in London, England.