Tyron Woodley made a big statement at UFC 201 when he knocked out Robbie Lawler at 2:12 in Round 1, thus becoming the new UFC Welterweight Champion, as well as being only the second man ever to knockout Lawler (Nick Diaz was the other at UFC 47). Woodley overcame massive odds stacked against him and showed why you should never underestimate anyone, MMA fans can only wonder who will be next for the new ‘King of the Welterweights’. Here’s a list of possible candidates:
Thompson would make perfect sense after he showed two epic performances against former champion Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald (who previously defeated Woodley at UFC 174) thus working his way up the leader board in a short time and now looks to be the next George St-Pierre of the welterweights. With Thompson’s striking and speed he would be a perfect match for Woodley and possibly give him a great run for his money in his first title defense. Though Thompson does not show a lot of ground game and with that in mind Woodley could make quick use of Thompson with his intense wrestling background and add another big win under his belt showing why he is the real champ of the welterweight division. With that in mind, it would be another great opportunity for Thompson to show why he is a major threat to Woodley and possibly destroy his fifteen minutes of fame in a quick finish.
After Woodley won the title he stated that one person he would love to face is none other than former Strikeforce and WEC Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz and why not. After all Diaz has plenty of striking power and ground game of his own and with the fact that he too has knocked out out Robbie Lawler would surely be a great matchup that fans would love to see as both of these fighters posses chins made of steel possibly making this fight into an epic war that could go down into the history books as the greatest fight to ever take place inside the Octagon of the UFC.
Indeed a rematch with Lawler could be another choice for him as Lawler is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC and finishing him is extremely difficult, but Woodley proved that he could finish him if he got him to play his game which is exactly what he did. Immediate rematches are almost never a good thing to see, but this just might pass as Lawler could have another chance to prove himself and show the world why he is here to stay with the possibility of having a third fight. Though the upside for Woodley is to show everyone that he can finish Lawler in any fight and if he faced him again and ended in the same result he will have fully exposed the power he has to throw down his opponents like ragdolls and make his name heard around the world.
Another fighter Woodley stated he would love to face is none other than the most dominating former welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre. Why wouldn’t he? MMA fans said they wanted to see Lawler vs. St-Pierre for quiet sometime and he finished in a quick and clean fashion the man that people believed would destroy St-Pierre, so there is no doubt that he could do the same to St-Pierre. With that in mind St-Pierre posses a combination of almost every MMA technique that can be seen in the sport itself, which is one reason why he was such a dominant champion and for Woodley to face him in his first title defense would not only be the biggest fight of his career but the greatest moment in the UFC as fans would finally get to see a man who has been underrated his entire career go up against the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all Time) in a possible five round war that could change the entire division inside out.
MacDonald would be another great opponent for Woodley all for the fact that he is one of three men who have successfully defeated him in a dominating performance and now that Woodley is the champion he would want to try and avenge his loss and prove that history does not always repeat itself. With their first meeting being over two years ago a lot has change for both these fighters as Woodley has progressed up the leader board to now being the champion as MacDonald has seemed to be demolishing with his last two fights being major losses that could have affected him both physically and mentally, thus giving Woodley the perfect opportunity to avenge his loss to MacDonald and prove how much improvement he has made since their last meeting.
Woodley faced Carlos Condit before at UFC 171 where he dominated him and ended up winning by TKO, but the fact that he won by a knee injury was not a fashion that he wished to win by. To face Condit next would give Woodley another chance to show just how much of a threat to the division he is as Condit loss to Lawler by the biggest controversial decisions ever in the UFC and the fact that he is one of a select few to put up a fight against Georges St-Pierre clearly makes sense to have a rematch and finish what he started over two years ago. Woodley wants as much competition as the company can give him and why not let him have a second crack at Condit.
Though these are all top fighters currently competing or have in the UFC there is still plenty of other opponents for the new champion that no one even bothers to mention.
Even the fact that the welterweight division is possibly one the toughest divisions in the UFC it is really anyone’s game and for all we know his next opponent could be someone that no one ever expected to be fighting for the title and put on another upset in the books.
All I have left to say is: “CONGRATS WOODLEY!” and good luck on your future fights.