The rumored UFC 174 bout between Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley is now official for Vancouver, and it will be the first fight on a new contract for Woodley.
The former University of Missouri wrestler, who has been actively lobbying for a title shot after his victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 171, has signed a new eight-fight deal with the UFC. Though he believed himself to be next in line to face Johny Hendricks in the competitive 170-pound weight class, Woodley will stay busy as Hendricks recovers from bicep surgery. Hendricks, who defeated Robbie Lawler on at UFC 171 in Dallas, will likely be out of action until the fall.
In the meantime, a bout against the 24-year old MacDonald, who’ll be fighting near his childhood home in British Columbia, doubles as chance to declare a more definitive No. 1 contender. On that front, Woodley, who confirmed the fight was official to MMA Fighting, is up for clearing the air.
"It’s an eight-fight deal," Woodley told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. "I had a four-fight deal, but I thought they had to make it worth my while. I’m taking the risk here. Rory MacDonald is not the No. 1 contender, I’m the No. 1 contender.
"I think we need to swap out our rankings. I should be ranked No. 2, and he should be ranked No. 4. He lost to Robbie Lawler and he lost to Carlos Condit. He didn’t beat any similar opponents that beat me, so that shouldn’t give him the nudge. He never beat me, so that shouldn’t give him the nudge. So if I beat Condit who beat you, how did you go up two rankings after I beat him? So I think that, the only that’s going to change is by going up there and beating him. Then he’ll go to No. 4 or whatever, and I’ll go to No. 2."
UFC 174 takes place on June 14 at the Rogers Arena, the first in the area since UFC 131 in 2011. MacDonald had his second UFC bout at that venue at UFC 115 in 2010, when he got caught by Carlos Condit with seven seconds to go in the fight.
The 31-year old Woodley (13-2) is riding a two-fight winning streak. Before he defeated Condit -- who was unable to continue at UFC 171 after tearing his ACL in the second round -- he defeated Josh Koscheck at UFC 167 via a first round knockout. MacDonald was able to bounce back from a split decision loss to Robbie Lawler to defeat Demian Maia on that same UFC 171 card.