LOS ANGELES — Many felt Rafael dos Anjos’ big win over Robbie Lawler last month was a signature victory, one that could propel dos Anjos to a future title fight.
Tyron Woodley, the UFC welterweight champion, was not one of those people.
Dos Anjos defeated Lawler, the former champ, via unanimous decision — and complete performance — in the main event of UFC on FOX 26. But Woodley was not wowed at all by dos Anjos’ work, especially after finding out that Lawler tore his ACL and his meniscus during the bout.
“Was it a good performance?” Woodley told MMA Fighting on Friday. “If I had Robbie Lawler against the Octagon like that, would he have been alive or would he have been knocked the f*ck out? He’d have been knocked out.”
Woodley had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum two weeks ago. He said he’s already making progress in rehab and expects to be training again fully in two months. No specific timetable has been set for a potential return to the Octagon, though.
On Friday, Woodley was here at Whole Foods in Playa Vista to help promote one of his sponsors, the supplement brand Onnit. Whole Foods stores nationwide have a sale on supplements from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7 and will feature exclusive products from Onnit.
Just down the street from the Whole Foods, Woodley is a weekly visitor at the TMZ office, where he co-hosts a digital show. And just about 15 minutes away is the FOX Sports studio where he works as an analyst for UFC on FOX.
In other words, despite the injury, Woodley has plenty going on as he’s taking time away from the cage, which makes it highly unlikely he’d be interested in coaching on The Ultimate Fighter, which has been rumored. His next opponent is not something he’s necessarily concerned with at the moment. But he doesn’t believe dos Anjos’ win over Lawler was something that earned him a title opportunity.
Woodley knocked out Lawler to win the belt in the first round back in 2016. Dos Anjos is the former UFC lightweight champ, who moved up a division last year.
“I just think when you come to this welterweight level, you’re dealing with a different type of power,” Woodley said. “I feel like strategically, those guys look good, because the idea of a good fight to fans is a teeter-tottering, back-and-forth war. But when you got a guy that’s known for his jiu-jitsu, leg kicks and takedowns and he doesn’t use those when those are there, it’s not that great of a performance.
“When you got Robbie against the Octagon and he’s throwing punches in bunches and he’s swinging, hitting elbows and hitting with MMA gloves, yeah he threw 100 punches, but how many actually landed? How many did significant damage? If I get Robbie against the cage, it’s gonna take a couple and he’s gonna go down. Put Stephen [Thompson] against the cage, it took a couple and he went down. Nate Marquardt. Anybody, in win or defeat, if I see the chin and I hit it, they go down.”
Woodley, 35, said the ideal next foe for him would be either Georges St-Pierre or Conor McGregor, though he doesn’t think either of them want to fight him. He’s not very interested in names like dos Anjos or Colby Covington at this point.
“I’m looking forward to fighting people who their brands are larger than mine. I’m not looking to bring somebody up,” Woodley said. “I’m in a position where I did that already. I’ve already sought out to fight the guy with a brand, so that I could project myself and bring myself up. I’m just not interested in promoting other people, man. I worked so hard to self-promote myself. I don’t have no agent. I’m out there in these streets and I’m hustling. Until someone can show me they’re doing the same thing or truly deserve the No. 1 contender, I’m good.”
In Woodley’s book, dos Anjos’ win over Lawler does not qualify as that.
“I wasn’t really impressed,” Woodley said. “I wasn’t impressed.”