Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Though he had always seemed capable of reaching such heights, Tyron Woodley shocked the MMA world when he knocked out Robbie Lawler in the UFC 201 main event to capture the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title.
Woodley was a Big XII Conference champion and a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri before transitioning to MMA. He rose quickly through the ranks and planted his flag in Strikeforce, earning a shot at the Scott Coker-led organization’s welterweight crown. Though Woodley failed in his title bid against former Pancrase champion Nate Marquardt, he found his way to the UFC in 2013 and continued to develop.
An American Top Team representative, Woodley has gone 6-2 in the UFC, wins over Lawler, Kelvin Gastelum, Dong Hyun Kim, Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck and Jay Hieron vaulting him to the top of the welterweight division. At 34, “The Chosen One” still has time to build on an already impressive resume.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Michael Johnson, James Krause, Zak Cummings, L.C. Davis, Michael Chandler, Jason High, Rob Kimmons