Lining up at the microphone ahead of the UFC Fight Night Saskatoon weigh-ins, local fans got the chance to get to know one of the top UFC contenders at SaskTel Centre.
Joined on stage by UFC commentator John Anik, third ranked welterweight Tyron Woodley spoke candidly about an upcoming bout against the former champion Johnny Hendricks at UFC 192 on Oct. 3.
“This will separate us from the division. I’m excited about the challenge and it will be my toughest fight, but that’s what I want. I want to beat the number one guy and take his place,” Woodley said.
On March 15, 2014 at UFC 171, Hendricks won the welterweight championship beating “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler in a five-round war. The rematch between the two came later that year at UFC 181 where it was Lawler who came out the champion. Lawler defended his belt this summer at UFC 189 against Canadian Rory MacDonald.
With Lawler scheduled to defend his title in December against Carlos Condit, the winner of the Woodley-Hendricks fight could come out as the next in line for a title shot.
When asked what he expects to see from Hendricks, Woodley said he was only focused on his abilities and what he can do in the octagon to make sure he’s victorious.
“He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder and he’s coming to prove a point, but I’m proving a point too,” Woodley said. “I’m excited about the fight and we’ll see what happens Oct. 3.”
Recognizing Hendricks’ strong wrestling background and his tough chin, Woodley said he understands it’s going to be tough to knock Hendricks out, but he’s got three rounds to try.
“When you get to the top three (in the division) it’s razor thin. You can’t make any mistakes, and I don’t think I can knock out any of those guys out. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to try for 15 minutes,” Woodley said.
Coming off his Hollywood debut as rapper T-Bone in the biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” Woodley said while he’s considering a career as an action-movie actor, his focus in on mixed martial arts and how to be the best UFC fighter. He said that means not taking anything for granted, like his upcoming bout.
“There is no after the Johnny Hendricks; there’s no title fight, if I don’t focus on him it will be a long night for me, my mind is on Johnny and that’s all I’m thinking about,” he said.