Georges St-Pierre is no longer the name up in proverbial lights for Tyron Woodley.
There was a time, Woodley said after UFC 228, that he believed he could not be the best welterweight of all time unless he defeated St-Pierre. Those days are gone, the current UFC welterweight champion said following his dominant, second-round submission win over Darren Till on Saturday night.
“I told myself that I had to beat him to be the greatest, but I don’t,” Woodley said at the post-fight press conference. “This sport is different. These guys are better. They’re more well-rounded, they punch harder, they’re faster. And they’ve been training at a younger age. It’s not the wrestler that just learned how to punch. Everybody can do everything now, so I think the fact that I’ve been able to beat the last specialists in the game, beat the up-and-coming rising star, beat Robbie Lawler, who’s one of the most vicious fighters we’ve ever seen with two title fights that I think are probably in the top 10 of title fights of all time.”
The way Woodley sees it, he’s already closing in on being the best at 170 pounds in UFC history. Not that he would turn down a St-Pierre fight if it was offered.
“It don’t take much more for me to solidify that spot,” Woodley said. “But if [GSP] wants to fight me, of course I’m gonna fight Georges St-Pierre. I just don’t think he has to, I don’t think he has any interest in it and I’m kind of over it at this point.”
GSP held the UFC welterweight title from 2008 to 2013, successfully defending it nine times. Woodley has held it now since 2016 with three official title defenses and one draw in which he retained the belt. He is unbeaten in seven straight fights going back to 2014.
St-Pierre, 37, vacated the title in 2013 and then returned last year to win the middleweight title by beating Michael Bisping. GSP quickly vacated that title after coming down with a digestive illness, but he has expressed interest in returning to the Octagon, perhaps even before the end of the year. Woodley said he’s not sure St-Pierre has any interest in fighting him.
“It’s always appealed to me, but I’m not gonna keep calling out a guy that’s already had nine title defenses, ran over the division,” Woodley said. “He stepped away from the sport, he came back, he made it very obvious that he wanted to fight certain types of fights and it didn’t look like he wanted to fight me.”
If that changes, Woodley said he’d fight GSP. But he no longer thinks he has to fight and defeat the Canadian star to be considered tops all time at 170.
“At one point, I thought I needed to beat him to be the greatest,” Woodley said. “I mean, who’s gonna say he’s not the greatest welterweight of all time. He beat the best welterweights in the world. It’s not like he was running through guys that were horrible, he was beating stud after stud after stud. He really separated himself from everybody else. I watched him do that for so long and I always envisioned fighting him, I always envisioned beating him.”