Tyron Woodley expects to be considered one of the UFC’s biggest stars in the foreseeable future.
With Conor McGregor in talks to fight Floyd Mayweather, Ronda Rousey’s future unknown, and Jon Jones still serving a suspension, the UFC is lacking star power. But Tyron Woodley, one month removed from his second UFC welterweight title defense, thinks he could be the next big thing.
The UFC welterweight champion, who defeated Stephen Thompson in the UFC 209 main event in March, expects to be one of the UFC’s biggest stars sooner than later.
“You know the UFC doesn’t have that many stars. They have a lot of great fighters, but as far as actual stars, there is not very many of them in the UFC,” Woodley told BJPenn.com. “So with that said, I think that I am one of the guys that is right on the cusp of breaking through and becoming that star.”
“The Chosen One” said he is in talks with the organization to compete at UFC 213, which is part of International Fight Week 2017 and will be one of the UFC’s biggest events of the year.
“I think the UFC will put their heavy hitters on that card,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what they have planned, but I talked to (UFC president) Dana (White) not too long ago, and he asked me when I want to fight, and I told him that I want to fight then. So with that said, I think that is going to be a go. That is what we are shooting for.”
With a number of champions talking about fighting in different divisions and potential super-fights, Woodley doesn’t want to be left out on the fun. He said a fight outside the 170-pound division could be in his immediate future. Even if he stays at welterweight, the winner of Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal doesn’t appear to be his priority.
“I don’t really feel confined to just fighting the number one contender,” he said. “I am not going to be the only weight class in the UFC that has to stay true to that old rule set, when everyone is showing us that that the game is really wide open for giving the fans the fights they want to see.
“Why would I not try and produce a fight with (middleweight champion Michael) Bisping or Nick or Nate Diaz, Georges St-Pierre and (lightweight champion) Conor McGregor? Those guys are my first options right now.”
That said, Woodley’s biggest goal, now that he’s reached the top of the 170-pound division, is still to be regarded as the greatest welterweight of all time. Fighting at a different weight, even against other UFC champs, won’t help. So to accomplish what he plans on accomplishing, Woodley has two matchups in mind.
“I am at a point where I am greedy. I want the fight that is going to cement me as the legend, the greatest of all time,” he said. “There is two guys right now, where if I could beat those two guys I am then the greatest welterweight of all time. If I can beat Nick Diaz, if I can beat Georges St-Pierre, then nobody can say I am not the best welterweight fighter to ever step in the Octagon. It would make me better than Georges, better than Matt Hughes. I would be the best of all time.”