While challengers jockey to become the next man to attempt to take the UFC welterweight title from Tyron Woodley, his sights remain on the man who once dominated the division before claiming—then vacating— the middleweight belt: Georges St-Pierre.
Earlier this year, Woodley–GSP appeared inevitable. Then Woodley’s title defense against Demian Maia at UFC 214 in July—a five-round unanimous decision—soured the prospect for promotion president Dana White.
“You ask fans if you want to see Woodley fight again,” White said the next day. “The answer would be a flat out no. Who wants to pay for Woodley to fight again? You take no risks, you get no rewards.”
Instead, for his first bout in four years, St-Pierre moved up a weight class to fight Michael Bisping, claiming the middleweight title and becoming the fourth fighter in UFC history to win belts in different weight classes.
Just a month later, St-Pierre vacated the title, citing his struggling with colitis and not wanting to hold up the division.
But according to Woodley, St-Pierre was just dodging a fight with him.
“All these fights are warm-up fights now. I beat all of the tough people. They’re all a warm-up fight,” Woodley said.
“I want to fight Georges, man. I offered to go up and fight him at middleweight and he faked some backside injury, and now he’s vacating the belt. So, I don’t know, man. I’m going to get my shoulder fixed and I’m going to watch the game be as ridiculous as it’s been and see who’s next.”
Woodley defended his title twice in 2017. With no clear-cut challenger having presented himself, he’s elected to go through with a shoulder surgery he’d been putting off. If anything, it could buy time for Woodley–GSP to become a reality.
“I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired,” Woodley told TMZ this week. “I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired.”