There’s a fine line between a fighter being hated as a heel and one who is hated for no reason at all.
One of the most obvious heels out there is Colby Covington. Covington basks in putting himself out there, no matter what he has to say or do. It gets a lot of hate at times for being just an act, but others find him hilarious because they realize he is simply screwing with everyone.
Then there are respectful fighters who get hated on for reasons that nobody can really define. Daniel Cormier, for example. Is he respectful? Yes. Nobody — with the exception of Jon Jones — finds Cormier disrespectful. Is he accomplished? Of course. Very few athletes are more accomplished in this sport than Cormier, especially with his recent achievement of becoming a two-division champion. Is he likable? It’s clearly a debatable issue for some people, but let’s go ahead and check this one off as well. Cormier possesses a unique personality that makes him like no other, and it’s interesting to listen to him. To some, however, none of that seems to matter. They love showering Cormier with boos and jeers every time he is on stage or in the cage. The aforementioned Jones clearly seems to holding some responsibility for this.
Then, there’s Tyron Woodley.
This is where it gets a little twisted. Woodley, who is clearly the best in the welterweight division right now, gets so much hate for it with no apparent reason.
Talk about talent. Woodley is one of the most athletic fighters out there. He has also professed to digging into his opponents and studying them, which clearly has contributed to his massive success. It is true that Woodley hasn’t particularly been the best fighter to watch in terms of entertainment, but it seems like he gets a lot more hate than he deserves for that. All three of his title defenses were against very difficult contenders. Woodley has never gone out of his way to disrespect anyone in the past either, which also makes it quite confusing when it comes to understanding the hatred some possess for him.
In the midst of all this hate, have people forgotten just how good Woodley really is?
Darren Till is an incredible fighter and can easily be Woodley’s biggest threat when the two meet at UFC 228. Woodley’s title reign has come against no one except for specialists, and the stylistic match-ups have hurt the champion’s popularity a little bit. This time, however, things are likely to be different. Till comes forward and has big power in his hands. As we saw in the Thompson fight, Till does not back up when his opponent rushes him. Now, whether that’ll remain the same against someone as powerful as Woodley is yet to be seen.
The string of a couple disappointing fights, added on to the fact that the fans don’t really like Woodley for whatever reason, seems to have made the fans forget about the past. This is a dangerous thing. The line of names that Woodley has collected wins over says it all: Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, and the list goes on and on.
While you may dislike Woodley for whatever reason, you can never count him out. He has shown little to no weakness in his game over his past few fights. He continuously evolves as a fighter. Woodley enjoys one of the longest current title reigns, and there is always a good reason when a champion is able to stay on the top for years.
Till may win the pair’s UFC 228 title fight. However, he’s going to have to work for it. No one ever fought Woodley and emerged with an easy win. Often, they have lost. Till is full of confidence. He feels like he can knock out Woodley in the first round. However, there is also a big chance for a rude awakening for Till on Sept. 8. He, too, might have forgotten just how good Woodley is.