Tyron Woodley dethroned welterweight champion Robbie Lawler with an overhand right in a matter of minutes at UFC 201, but it is clear he expected the fight to go this way because he already knows how he would like the future to unfold for him.
Woodley's first backstage stop was a post-fight interview with the Fox Sports desk, which just so happened to have fellow welterweight Stephen Thompson who is on a seven-fight win streak. Thompson came right out and asked Woodley what the chances of them fighting this fall was after some flatteries, and Woodley shut down that talk immediately.
"This is what I think, I think you said you wanted to fight Robbie Lawler and you'll get an opportunity to fight Robbie Lawler," Woodley told Thompson.
“I think Nick Diaz comes off of suspension in two days. He’s a money fight,” Woodley said. “I think Nick Diaz comes off suspension in two days, he's a money fight, I've been in this game, I'm a O.G., I've been here for a while and I want to make the big dough. So if he wants to fight in August with his brother Nate Diaz, I think me and him and share that event. I'm uninjured, August, I'm ready to go 202. Let's make the money.
"I think he deserves it, I think he's put enough butts in the seats, he deserves to make that payday. So, let's go get it."
Diaz is coming off an 18 month suspension after allegedly testing positive for marijuana for his last fight at UFC 183 in January 2015.
Potential future match ups for the newly crowned champion didn't die down after that, Woodley once again being asked about would-be opponents during the post-fight press conference. But Woodley through another name in the hat as he angled for a "big money" fight.
"I want to make some money now, I'm going to be honest. The goal one is to be the welterweight champion of the world, but I put in too much time, I'm away from my family way too often. This is a sport where we can make cash now," Woodley said. "So instead of just saying this person deserves it, he worked his way through the rankings, I think Nick Diaz comes off suspension in two days, I would love to fight him on 202.
"I know his brother's fighting. I think he deserves it. He's a guy that's been around the sport, he puts a lot of butts in the seats, sold a lot of pay-per-views. So why not put him on a big card with Conor and his brother. I know he's training already, and let him cash out. I'm willing to give him that opportunity."
Woodley added: "I would like to fight Georges St-Pierre in New York City."
While Woodley is clearly staring financial incentives to fight people other than Stephen Thompson, and Diaz or GSP would both be better draws for Woodley, the champion seems to be irked that Thompson was hoping for a Lawler win because it was a better matchup for him.
"Stephen Thompson said he wanted to fight Robbie Lawler," Woodley said. "He said it was a better matchup. The fans would be excited to watch that. He'll get the opportunity to have that fight."
While UFC president Dana White admitted he admires Woodley's desire to fight again, the UFC won't likely book Woodley's desired bout with Diaz at UFC 202. For starters, the Diazes, at least Nate, isn't keen on fighting on the same card as his brother.
"I don't like to fight on the same card as anyone I train with, or my brother, especially," Diaz told The MMA Hour in May.
Diaz added: "Fight night should all be about you and what you gotta do, and you shouldn't have to be worrying about anyone else. Otherwise, you're not going to be focused on yourself. I don't want that (expletive) going on in my head."
It is also highly unlikely that the UFC would thrust their welterweight champion into a short-notice fight with future events that need champions fighting on the card. Whether the UFC gives Woodley either Diaz or St-Pierre remains to be seen. St-Pierre has stated he wants to end his retirement and return to the UFC and putting St-Pierre on the New York City card for his return certainly would be appealing to the UFC. A fight with Diaz would equally be as intriguing of a card, though perhaps not enough to carry the New York City card.
But there is no denying that Thompson has earned the title shot.
“I’m not going to say he’s scared, because I know he’s not scared,” Thompson said. “He wants that money fight, but I think I’m going to be making more money when I put this foot upside his head. I’m just telling you. It’s going to happen. This is my division, baby. That’s it.”