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Tyron Woodley felt ‘flat,’ ‘hypnotized,’ but wants a rematch with Kamaru Usman

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tyron Woodley is not going to pretend like he didn’t have a bad night in the cage against Kamaru Usman on Saturday night.

Woodley’s a straight shooter in victory and defeat, so he’s giving Usman all his proper due for a dominant performance in winning the UFC welterweight title in Las Vegas. The scores of 50-44, 50-44 and 50-45 don’t really do justice to how well Usman fought.

“I gotta give him his respect,” Woodley said at the post-fight press conference at T-Mobile Arena. “Because like I said before I’ve been on the other side of the stick a lot. I’ve beat a lot of people up, knocked a lot of people out, won some close fights, that people may have thought they won so I just had to make sure he got his respect, his proper respect for winning tonight.”

But Woodley also knows this: Despite the one-sided nature of the defeat, he’s had his ups and downs in his career and always bounced back. So even though the bout wasn’t a close fight, he wants a rematch for the belt that he held for two years and seven months.

“We know what I’m capable of,” Woodley said.” I’m just looking to rematch and run it back, man. It was my fifth title defense, and I feel like, I’m the champion and what I’ve done for this organization, man, the performance may not have voiced for a rematch but I think my resume does.”

While some fighters will claim the pre-fight injuries, bad weight cuts, or any of dozens of other reasons caused their defeat after the fact, Woodley offered no such excuses after the bout, saying he felt good and sharp in warmups.

“It was an uncharacteristic fight of me,” Woodley said. “I kind of knew early on. Sometimes when I start a fight, I come out blazing, I come out with combinations, I kind of get in that rhythm and I stay in that rhythm. This time it was just something real weird. He was dropping down and squatting all low and it was almost like i was hypnotized like I know you’re about to shoot, I’m trying to time what you do so I can hit you with those uppercuts, and I then I think I got to the point I was just waiting on him to shoot.”

But when Usman came out and implement his game plan, Woodley simply couldn’t find another gear.

“Tonight it was just weird,” Woodley said. “I was just flat and I don’t know why but when you’re on this stage you can’t have a bad night.”

UFC president Dana White indicated former interim champion Colby Covington will be next in line for Usman. Woodley, for his part, said any of a number of things can happen between now and whenever that fight might be scheduled, so he’s going to stay ready.

“You never know,” Woodley said. “People get injured, things happen. Colby might pull a couple more stunts and kick himself off the title fight, so I’m just going to be prepared. I think like I said before as a champion that took out Robbie Lawler who was fighter of the year twice, defended his belt four times, I feel like a rematch, Colby has been kind of sitting around trying to call the shots but if that’s what the organization wants to do, it’s their organization.”

Until then, despite Saturday’s outcome, Woodley firmly believes a rematch will go the other way.

“We know what I’m capable of,” Woodley said. I’m just looking to rematch and run it back, man. It’s my fifth title defense, and I feel I’m the champion and what I do for this organization, the performance may not have involved for a rematch but I think my resume does.