Deserve ain't got nothing to do with it.
While Stephen Thompson seems to be the No. 1 contender at welterweight, new champion Tyron Woodley has other plans for his first title defense. Woodley, who knocked out Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 201 on Saturday night in Atlanta, wants Nick Diaz or Georges St-Pierre next.
"These guys are legends," Woodley said at the post-fight press conference. "Nick Diaz is a top-five welterweight of all time in my eyes. Georges St-Pierre is the No. 1 welterweight in my eyes. If I'm an athlete in this sport, in this division and I want to say I'm the best in the world, I feel like I should compete against those guys. So I don't feel any obligation to go by the rankings. We all know how those rankings are produced anyway. And I want to go out there and I want to fight the money fights."
Woodley (15-3) caught Lawler with a big overhand right in the first Saturday and ended the night quickly. "T-Wood" told Thompson to his face — via satellite anyway on the FS1 post-fight show — that he wasn't interested in fighting him next. Woodley used Thompson's words about how he wanted to fight Lawler against him. Thompson is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Rory MacDonald in May.
"Stephen Thompson said he wanted to fight Robbie Lawler," Woodley said. "He said it was a better matchup, the fans would be excited to watch it. He'll get an opportunity to have that fight."
Woodley, 34, said he was uninjured against Lawler and wants to come back right away. He proposed fighting Diaz at UFC 202, an event Aug. 20 headlined by Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.
"I think Nick Diaz comes off suspension in two days," Woodley said. "I would love to fight him on 202. I know his brother is fighting. I think he deserves it. He's a guy that's been around the sport. He's put a lot of butts in the seats, sold a lot of pay-per-views. So why not put him on a big card with Conor and his brother? I know he's training already."
Diaz is indeed coming off his marijuana suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission this weekend. He has not fought since January 2015 against Anderson Silva, but remains one of the biggest names in MMA. GSP, the longtime former UFC welterweight champion and one of the biggest financial draws in UFC history, is another obvious choice in Woodley's mind, though he is effectively retired and has not fought since 2014. St-Pierre has hinted at a comeback, though.
"I want to make some money now," Woodley said. "I'm gonna be honest. Goal one is to be the welterweight champion of the world, but I put in too much time. I'm away from my family way too often. This is a sport where we can make cash now, instead of just saying this person deserves it, he worked his way through the ranks."