Former Strikeforce welterweight Tyron Woodley (11-1) announced his presence on the UFC’s roster with an exclamation point this past weekend by blasting Jay Hieron into unconsciousness before a minute had ticked off the clock in their bout at UFC 156. Prior to the defeat Hieron hadn’t been finished in more than five years, going 11-2 in the span since.
As evident by the win, “T-Wood” is an intriguing new player in the division thanks to his blend of athleticism, power, and top notch wrestling. And, based on the speed in which he stopped Hieron, Woodley should be ready for action again sooner than later.
Here are three logical options the UFC should consider for Woodley’s next clash:
Martin Kampmann (20-6)
For starters, Kampmann is a good friend and former teammate of Hieron’s, so there’s already a built in storyline as far as promoting the fight. Kampmann’s also got some name value, giving Woodley an opportunity to increase his profile if victorious. And, last but certainly not least, Kampmann is a helluva challenge too considering his technical striking and underrated BJJ ability.
Demian Maia (18-4)
A stiff test for sure considering Maia’s success at welterweight since a solid run at 185 pounds, but also the type of tilt Woodley needs if wanting to establish himself as a legitimate contender. Maia’s grappling and submissions could prove tricky for Woodley, as they were for Jon Fitch this past weekend, but that’s not to say the Mizzou Tiger wouldn’t be up to the task. Also, Maia exited UFC 156 healthy and should be ready for a quick turnaround despite most of the divisional best already being booked.
Tarec Saffiedine (14-3)
Saffiedine still needs an opponent for his UFC debut after earning a spot in the organization with a convincing win over Nate Marquardt to become Strikeforce’s final welterweight champion. The rumble would mark a rematch of a scrap Saffiedine lost a little more than two years ago, plus it would give Woodley a chance to get another win in the Octagon under his belt against an adversary he knows he can beat.
PHOTO CREDIT: UFC