LOS ANGELES — UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has a message for those who plan to tune into UFC 228 on Sept. 8: He’s ready to defend his title against Darren Till in Dallas. But don’t expect any circumstances under which he’ll fight Kamaru Usman.
“It’s TIll or no fight at all,” Woodley said at a media day Thursday.
The UFC has placed Usman, who is 8-0 in the UFC, on retainer in case anything goes wrong with the main event, not a small concern when Till, the challenger, missed weight in his most recent fight. Usman will weigh in and be paid show money regardless.
Woodley didn’t go through a full training camp just to turn around and fight a completely different fighter on a day’s notice, reiterating what he said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday. So as far as Woodley is concerned, good for Usman for making some extra pay, but don’t expect to fight if Till doesn’t make it to fight night.
“I’ll fight Usman on a full training camp,” Woodley said. “I’ll fight anybody on a full training camp. I’ll fight you on a full training camp, but I’m not a guy, this is not a circus to me. You’re not going to have me prepare to fight a 6-foot-3 striker southpaw, and then on 24 hours’ notice because this motherf*cker missed weight and he’s unprofessional, now I gotta fight a 5-foot-10 switch-stance wrestler. No, you’re not going to waste my time, you’re not going to money that I put into training camps, you’re not going to add this one crazy variable and make me feel like I’m the pansy for not taking the fight. No, it’s not what happened. So if he’s making some money for making weight, congratulations, he gets some free bags.”
If anything, Woodley seems to see this as the latest sign of disrespect from the UFC — the champ competed in four title fights in just under a 12-month span, only to have the company created an interim champion in Colby Covington when Woodley was out awhile with a shoulder injury.
“I’m already ready to fight him,” Woodley said. “I’m already training. I’m not doing that bullsh*t fight someone on 24 hours. This is not a joke to me. I train my ass off, I put myself in position to be successful. What other champion do you see that does that? Name me one. Name me another champion who defended his title three times in one year and had four world title fights and then had an interim title put in before one year expired? Name me another one. I’m not about the bullsh*t.”
Woodley isn’t allowing anything related to other’s weight problems come into play, and if anything believes fighting an overweight TIll would be to his benefit.
“I’m a fighter who likes to focus on the fight,” Woodley said. “I don’t want to focus on him making weight, that’s out of my control. I’m going to make weight. Tell me one time you’ve seen me step on the scale and you didn’t see 170 or less. I’m a professional, I’m going to do what I have to to make weight. Whether he’s 170 or 176, he’s still going to get his ass kicked. That’s something that he has to deal with. And his body is going to be beat up from cutting all that weight. He’s probably not doing it the right way. So, it’s going to be to my benefit if he doesn’t make weight.”