After winning the UFC welterweight title form Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 earlier this year, new champion Tyron Woodley immediately began angling for a title defense against either Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz despite general consensus among the MMA community being that Stephen Thompson was next in line. But St-Pierre was in a contract dispute with the UFC and Diaz had his own troubles with the Nevada Athletic Commission so Woodley fought Thompson at UFC 205, retaining his belt in a majority draw that many thought Woodley won. Afterwards, Dana White said an immediate rematch was warranted but yet again it seems Woodley would rather take a "money" fight with Diaz than standard defense against "Wonderboy."
Diaz has been in a strange state of limbo with the NAC stemming from a controversial 2015 failed drug test. After having his sentence reduced to 18 months, he failed to fully pay his fine and was thus barred from fighting in the state as well as cornering fighters, including his brother Nate Diaz. When Diaz reached an agreement with the NAC earlier this week to be fully reinstated for all fight activities, Woodley took to Twitter to call out the former Strikeforce welterweight champion.
Woodley has also been trying to set up a fight between himself and lightweight champion Conor McGregor but with Dana White recently announcing McGregor would be taking 10 months off, and with St-Pierre appearing to be quite far from returning, Woodley's options for a marquee match up were dwindling. Diaz's reinstatement affords Woodley another opportunity to fight a major draw in the sport.
Furthermore fighting Diaz on the 209 card would likely be bigger than an average PPV due to the unique promotional aspect of it. The Diaz brothers hail from Stockton, Calif. which has the area code "209," something that's become a signature of the two, even resulting in UFC commentator Jon Anik getting a "209" tattoo after betting against Nate Diaz in his first fight with Conor McGregor. Though the card won't be held in California, the promotional material practically writes itself and the return of Nick Diaz is sure to garner a lot of interest. Conventional wisdom suggests it would certainly be a better financial option for Woodley than a rematch with Thompson or a defense against the other waiting contender, Demian Maia.
But doing so would also likely put off many fans who have already been vocal about Woodley's disinterest in fighting these challengers. After his comments post UFC 201 downplaying a fight with Thompson, Woodley was dubbed "The Choosey One" by a number of MMA fans (a play off his nom de guerre, "The Chosen One") and accused of "ducking" Thompson; this may be seen similarly considering the unsatisfying conclusion to their fight at UFC 205.
But for those fans who think Woodley is calling out Diaz just because he wants to avoid Thompson, he has a simple response:
@ZeeJohnes just like I did the first time right?— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 8, 2016
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that UFC 209 would take place in Brooklyn. That part has been corrected. UFC 209 will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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2017 I will claim the lhw title. Watch me do it.— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) December 8, 2016
I will not be kind and I will not be gentle. This is the real deal. https://t.co/gJ5eT8u0bP— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) December 8, 2016
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Well it's over and it went very well in DC ! I , frankly would rather be punched in the face but once I settled in the testimony went well and the position of fighters and MMAFA was very well received ! That is unless you were one of the lobbyist there hired by the ufc to oppose us. I am proud to be associated with the gentlemen warriors for the betterment of our great sport and future generations of fighters. This is going to be a process to get the bill to the floor to be amended but the first step is a success and a positive experience. I am confident we will be successful with the great leadership of MarkWayne Mullin rep. Okla. And all of the fighters with MMAFA !
I'm retiring as a fighter. I've understood, that I no longer have the necessary desire, will to win or hunger to compete. I have no excuses for my performance against Amanda Cooper. I've never been in better shape, I had awesome sparring and the weight cut went according to plan. I simply couldn't get my pulse up, didn't feel any kind of adrenalin rush and basically felt content. When I entered the Octagon in Belfast, I didn't get any kind of buzz at all. I just felt flat, and it was weird to experience, because I didn't understand it at first. But when I knocked my opponent down, and I didn't get the rush to finish the fight, as I usually do, I knew that my edge and desire simply was gone. I honestly had no idea until the fight, that I have lost my "fighter heart", and I really didn't see it coming. I apologize to all I've let down, but I don't have it in me anymore. I live a very good life now, and I've realized, that I don't have anything to fight for anymore. At the age of 32, other aspects of life now make more sense to me, but I don't regret a thing. I'd like to thank the UFC for giving me the chance to perform at the biggest stage in Martial Arts, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. What an adventure it has been! Intensiti Fighter Management gave me dreamlike opportunities, and I'll always be grateful for their treatment of me as an athlete. I can't praise my management enough. The team at Rumble Sports took me from being a chubby hobby-kickboxer to an elite MMA-fighter in only three years. Thank you to everyone, who helped shape me as a fighter. The panda is no longer endangered and it's time for new dreams and adventures.
Big fight weekend. Everyone enjoy and see you back here on Monday.
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