LAS VEGAS -- Returning to the cage after his first career loss, Tyron Woodley didn't take long to start a new win streak. Thirty-six seconds to be exact.
The UFC newcomer blitzed veteran Jay Hieron with an early barrage and finished him with ground strikes in a UFC 156 shocker.
"I feel amazing," he said. "With that knockout I'm declaring war on the welterweight division."
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In Strikeforce, Woodley was mostly known as a strong wrestler with excellent positional control, but he started to erase that perception in his last bout, a championship loss to Nate Marquardt that was one of the most exciting fights of 2012. He hadn't fought since then, and he certainly made a statement in his UFC debut.
Woodley came forward with a long right hand that clipped Hieron behind the ear. Hieron went down and Woodley followed him there with ferocious ground and pound, finally finishing him off with two power strikes that put Hieron's lights out.
Ref Herb Dean pulled Woodley off Hieron and in a scary scene, Hieron (23-7) was stiff for a few seconds afterward. Finally, after about a minute, the medical team helped him off the mat and on to the stool. He had to be assisted back to the locker room.
With an 11-1 record, Woodley is now a player in the 170-pound weight class.