Tyron Woodley Wants The Strikeforce Belt

Wrestler happy with win over Paul Daley

In the build up to the fight between Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley, the British slugger called himself the iceberg that was going to sink the Strikeforce prospect. But when the two men squared off in Chicago, it was Woodley who got the best of the collision.

Woodley talked to HeavyMMA following his victory.

“I always said that Paul Daley is a guy that plays on the entertainment side, and I didn’t believe he believed half the things he said. I knew he was going to come to fight and he was coming off a loss where he was so close to winning the title, so I expected it. I didn’t believe those things he said in the first place, so I just brushed it off my shoulders and focused on what I needed to do.”

The undefeated former Mizzou standout took one more step towards the Strikeforce welterweight title by using his wrestling to control the fight. Woodley put Daley on his back for large portions of the second and third rounds, scoring with ground and pound on the way to a unanimous decision victory.

“To control the clinch was definitely the game plan but at the same time he’s dangerous against the cage. He throws knees and elbows out there so I had to always be conscious of what was happening on the side, because I felt him waiting on space to throw an elbow or bring something up the middle. For me, it was just to get him thinking about my wrestling and then I could go from there. The times I just shot in were the times I was unsuccessful, but where I would come in and get him to throw a heavy shot was where I was able to put him down.”

Daley showed much-improved takedown defense in the early goings, but Woodley’s tenacity paid off in the second round in the form of a single leg takedown. Though “Semtex” continued to work off his back, it was clear that he had no answer for Woodley’s game plan.

“[Daley’s] takedown defense looked really good. He’s a wide guy and it’s actually really hard to get a grip around him. Just the same with my wrestling and his striking because he got cracked a couple of times. I landed some shots to the body and a knee to the head.”

“I didn’t expect him to come into this fight and not focus on his wrestling because he’s lost to too many wrestlers in the past for him not to work on it. I also wasn’t going to get frustrated. Going in we were like, “if you get stuffed going in three or four times then let’s go for five and six and that’s how it played out.”

Going into the third Daley, was down two rounds on the card and needed a finish, but Woodley again was able to score a takedown. Daley found more success getting to his feet in the final frame – he was able to land several big punches – but Woodley’s wrestling was simply too much. Daley tied up Woodley’s left arm with his legs and rolled for an omaplata, but ended up on his back where he stayed until the bell sounded.

“I was focused. I definitely felt that I won rounds 1 and 2 then in round 3 he came out strong. He knew he had to do something special, but I held him and finished on top. We worked a lot of top pressure. There were a couple of times he was almost able to get out but I was able to put him back down.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the guy on bottom is not always the guy who is getting worn out. The fighter on top is also getting worn down because you can’t just hold the position. You have to drop elbows. You have to punch. ‘Big John’ says get to work you have to get to work or else it’s getting stood up and you have to do it all over again.”

With the victory, Woodley positions himself in the top spot for the vacated welterweight title. He’s waiting for Strikeforce to make a decision, but he wants to send a message that he is ready for the title.

“I feel great right now. I knocked off my first top 10 guy. I knew I was going into war and we prepared for that. This is the first fight in awhile where I wasn’t thinking about the time, because I kept thinking that I couldn’t let him up. I had to pound him, get some good shots and finally later in the fight I was able to land some good elbows. This is a step forward for me. I’m proud of my performance and I want the world title next.”