After two 25-minute fights against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has heard more jeers than cheers and more complaints than compliments. The first of their two fights was declared a draw at UFC 205 in New York City. Leading up to their rematch, UFC President Dana White challenged Woodley to be a stud champion and finish Thompson.
Well, it seems White’s plea fell on deaf ears. The finish White and the rest of the UFC fans were looking for didn’t come. However, Woodley did successfully defended his title at UFC 209 despite plenty of booing and a lack of approval from the boss. Following UFC 209, White spoke to the media and said he scored the fight in favor of Thompson and that Woodley didn’t do enough to get a win in his eyes.
Woodley and White have gone back and forth in the media calling each other drama queens, and as Woodley speaks up about lack of respect as champion, White keeps proving the champion right. Everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to fights. For the president of the UFC to come out before the fight and challenge the champion is one thing, but to engage in a war of words is another.
White had every reason to give his take on the main event, but the results are the results. Woodley certainly deserves more respect from his boss. The fact remains that he is the UFC welterweight champion. The fact remains that Woodley is quite marketable, even if it appeared the UFC seemed more focused on Thompson than it did on “The Chosen One.”
Woodley is an actor, podcast host, in-studio analyst on Fox, and a champion who holds a 17-3 professional record. He does just as much outside the Octagon as he does inside of it. In 2016, he won the belt when he delivered a brutal knockout victory over reigning champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 201. We haven’t seen Lawler since. While there were plenty of critics around both fights against Thompson, Woodley deserves to be given respect for surviving two classic fights and handling them both with class even while enduring the disapproval of the crowd and his boss.
Outside of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, there aren’t many UFC champions that come to mind as being overlooked by the promotion. Johnson is arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, but he receives little to no push from the UFC and White. Now, Woodley seems to be feeling Johnson’s pain.
After Woodley’s massive win over Lawler and in his two fights against Thompson, it appeared that all the love and attention was focused on Woodley’s opponent. The brutal knockouts certainly get a crowd going and on their feet, but a champion defending his belt deserves just as much appreciation, no matter how he got it done.
Woodley is the UFC welterweight champion, no matter who disagrees with the decision in the UFC 209 contest against Thompson. Woodley deserves to be honored when he holds the belt. They may not always be the most fun or attractive fights to the fans or those in charge, but as long Woodley goes about business in a professional manner, as he continues to do, then he deserves not just respect, but the spotlight as well.