Tyron Woodley defeated Robbie Lawler to capture the UFC welterweight championship in Atlanta Saturday night.
A nondescript bout turned explosively violent about two minutes into the match. Woodley connected with a massive overhand right that sent the champion down. The Chosen One’s encore to the big right involved a series of rights that wake up the crowd and put the champ to sleep. The end came just two minutes and twelve seconds into the fight.
“You say, ‘And new,’ and I say thank God,” Woodley reflected after the bout. “This isn’t the first fight I would pick, he’s a friend of mine but I’ve been envisioning that belt around my waist my whole life. My boys, your dad is the world champ! When I saw the opening I went for the right hand, something kept telling me the right hand would be there.”
Lalwer captured the title from Johny Hendricks in a tough split-decision victory in late 2014. He defended the belt in two grueling bouts with Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. At 34, and first appearing in the promotion at UFC 37, the veteran of 39 professional bouts who took the road less traveled to the title hopes to recapture in his next bout what it took him over a decade to win. But Woodley does not have “rematch” on the mind.
The 16-3 Woodley welcomed “money fights” after the biggest win of his career. Answering #1 contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson’s query about a possible fight between them, the Chosen One pointed to blockbuster bouts against Nick Diaz (returning from a suspension) and Georges St. Pierre (returning from retirement) as preferences. Woodley, who made quick work of Lawler, noted that he could compete at UFC 202 next month if the promotion wanted that.
“It is what it is,” the vanquished champ, who fell to 27-11, reflected after the fight. “He feinted me and my hand went down and he caught me. I expected that kind of stuff but I was sitting back and not moving like I should and he took advantage.”