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Woodley Believes He is a Title Contender

By: Dan Shapiro, FIGHTLAND

"Eleven months ago, Tyron Woodley started making some noise in the UFC’s welterweight division. Having closed out 2013 with a 'Knockout of the Night' performance that sent one-time title challenger Josh Koscheck’s head spinning, Woodley topped former interim champ Carlos Condit with the rarely seen leg kick-torn ACL stoppage, and suddenly 'The Chosen One' was right in the middle of the title mix.
"But how things change in less than a year, in a division with no less than five legitimate contenders. And for Woodley, a win over Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC 183 co-main event is crucial, essential in fact, to his fight for relevancy at 170 pounds.
"Following his March 2014 win over Condit—a legitimate victory that many punters attempted to discredit in the same way as Chris Weidman’s second win over Anderson Silva, leg break and all—Woodley immediately began lobbying for a title shot against former champ Johny Hendricks. Taking out the then-number-two challenger, Woodley felt rightful in his claim; there was also history between Woodley and Hendricks dating back to their college wrestling days, when it’s reported that Woodley bit the former champ in the Big-12 finals, an angle he played up to the media while publically lobbying for his title shot.
"Woodley made his case, but with Hendricks sidelined due to a torn biceps, he was partnered with perennial top-fiver Rory MacDonald at UFC 174, a risky matchup for anyone. Unable to close the distance on MacDonald’s jab-heavy Chute Boxe game, Woodley dropped a unanimous nod, pushing him down the welterweight ladder another spot, this time behind MacDonald, who was vying for his own crack at promotional gold."
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