Coming off a 36-second knockout of Jay Hieron in his UFC debut, Tyron Woodley will be looking to deliver another impressive performance when he meets former welterweight title challenger Jake Shields on June 15 at UFC 161.
Ahead of the matchup, Woodley joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his opponent and much more.
On Shields: “He’s on his way out. He’s a specialist. That’s what happened with Royce Gracie-Matt Hughes and when Matt Hughes met GSP, and that’s what’s going to happen when Jake meets me on June 15.”
On Shields’ style: “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. … 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.”
On whether Shields will be offended by these comments: “Well, I’m not too worried about it. I’m not disrespecting him. The reason why I wanted to fight him is not because he’s a chump. I saw him as a top fighter, and that’s why I wanted to fight him. That’s why I wanted to fight him in Strikeforce. Truth be told, he should have fought me then, before I had a loss, before I went through the Nate Marquardt fight, before I went to a spot where I just basically started believing and having confidence in myself, where I’m at right now. He would have had a better opportunity and the odds would have been better.”
On why Shields has been so successful: “I’m giving him credit for what he is. He’s a great grappler. He’s probably the best grappler, especially on top, in the 170 division. Not many guys have his craftiness on top. It’s just streaming basics. He’s doing the basics. He’s not doing any crazy De La Riva or any kind of rubber guard. He’s just doing stuff and he’s consistent and he has great pressure.”
On whether Shields has improved in his time off: “I’ve got to expect his striking to be better. I’ve got to expect him to push me forward, try to take me down and try to make an ugly fight. If none of those things happen, it’s good for me. I’m already prepared for the worst: the chance he might take me down, the chance he might take my back, the chance he might mount me, the chance he might get me in a submission I have to get out of. Those are the situations I’m preparing for, and if I have to fight through those things, I’m still going to have gas and energy and power to try to go upside his head when I get back to my feet.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:37:16).