UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley will never be mistaken for a Muay Thai specialist as a fighter whose background is almost exclusively in wrestling. He’s also good at what he does too, possessing the ability to hold plenty of opponent down and ride out a decision if so desired. However, Woodley’s power and dedication to improvement have made him a threat beyond blanketing or even submissions. In fact, his last two finishes have come by way of strikes including a knockout of Jay Hieron a few months back.
“He’s on his way out. He’s a specialist. It’s what happened with Royce Gracie-Matt Hughes and when Matt Hughes met Georges St-Pierre, and that’s what’s going to happen when Jake meets me on June 15,” said Woodley in an interview with Sherdog Radio. “He’s the Last of the Mohicans. He’s like Royce Gracie — he’s the last grappler left in the game, if you think about it. He’s the last specialist.”
“The problem is that I’m a good wrestler. I’m a good grappler. I’m a good striker. I’m in the best shape,” he continued. “I think those things are the elements that he can’t control. When he tries to take me down and get me on the ground and get me to the one spot where he can win, and he can’t do that, now you’ve got to stand up. Now you’ve got to get hit. You’ve got to get kicked in the face. That’s the anxiety I want to put into his head, to say, ‘Hey, man, you can only win one way and you can’t even get to that spot to even have success.’ I think that’s going to give me the opportunity to exploit him and get him out of there.”
The 11-1 Woodley owns past wins over Jordan Mein, Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine. Seven of his victories have featured some form of stoppage. Meanwhile, Shields is 27-6-1 with a ton of submissions but hasn’t put a foe away in four years.