Tyron Woodley won’t completely dismiss a potential Georges St-Pierre fight, but he thinks the door is closed and doesn’t see great odds for it opening up.
Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) earned his fourth consecutive UFC welterweight title defense on Saturday when he defeated Darren Till (17-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) in the UFC 228 headliner. That’s less than half the number of defenses St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) had during his legendary reign in the weight class.
A matchup against St-Pierre has always been something that was on the tip of Woodley’s tongue in terms of most desired fights. He wanted to prove he’s the superior belt holder, but after scoring a second-round submission
over Till at UFC 228, there’s been a change in heart.
Woodley, 36, believes he’s carving out a championship legacy of his own with every fight. He said that legacy is going to continue and grow regardless of whether St-Pierre, 37, is part of it or not.
“It’s always appealed to me, but I’m not going to keep calling out a guy that’s already had nine title defenses, ran the whole division,” Woodley said at the UFC 228 post-fight news conference. “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, so. At one point I thought I needed to beat him to be the greatest because who is going to say he’s not the greatest welterweight of all time?
“He beat the best welterweights in the world. It wasn’t like he was just running through guys that was horrible. He was beating stud after stud after stud and he really separated himself from everybody else. I watched him do that for so long and I always envisioned fighting him, always envisioned beating him. I told myself that I had to beat him to be the greatest, but I don’t.”
Nearly four years after vacating the 170-pound belt in late 2013, St-Pierre finally returned to competition at UFC 217 in November. He moved up a division to middleweight and immediately challenged then-champ Michael Bisping. “Rush” would go on to take the belt from Bisping before vacating it just 33 days later due to health concerns.
St-Pierre has once again expressed interest in a comeback in recent weeks, and it appears he could be headed to lightweight to challenge the winner of October’s UFC 229 headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC) and Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC). Woodley’s name has been noticeably absent from the discussion.
Woodley said it’s fine with him if St-Pierre wants to pick and choose his fights, and he’s no longer worried if the French-Canadian doesn’t pick him. Woodley said he will go on to etch out his own legacy, and if St-Pierre chooses to put himself in the crossfires and try to stop him, he will certainly welcome the opportunity.
“This sport is different,” Woodley said. “These guys are better, they’re more well rounded. They’re better, they’re faster. They’ve been training at a young ago. It’s not the wrestler that just learned how to punch. 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 is one of the most vicious fighters we’ve ever seen with two title fights that are probably in the top 10 of best title fights of all times, then it don’t take much more.
“If he wants to fight me of course I will fight Georges St-Pierre. I just really don’t think he has too, I don’t think he has any interest and I’m kind of over it at this point.”