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15th Nov 2017

Tyron Woodley verbally accepts headliner with Nate Diaz

Promising sign

Ben Kiely

Tyron Woodley

Tyron Woodley wanted a money fight, and it looks like he’s got one.

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has a bit of a problem – no matter how many top contenders he beats, his popularity just won’t increase.

Ever since he claimed the belt by brutally knocking out Robbie Lawler in the first round, Woodley has defended the belt against the number one contender in the world every time he stepped inside the Octagon. As Georges St-Pierre will tell you, constantly having to take on the best guy in your division doesn’t always result in the most exciting performances.

So Woodley attempted and ultimately failed to make a power move. He angled for fights with marquee names like GSP, Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz and even Michael Bisping. However, the UFC still kept handing him highly-skilled killers like Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.

An unexpected ‘money fight’ has presented itself to Woodley in the form of Nate Diaz. We’re six weeks out from UFC 219 and there’s no sign of a viable main event. So the matchmakers are reportedly discussing the possibility of handing the younger Diaz brother a welterweight title shot.

Woodley was thought to be out for the remainder of the year with a shoulder injury he sustained in his bout against Maia, which actually suited the division. Being out would allow Rafael dos Anjos, Lawler, Thompson to work out a pecking order while rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington could try to show they belong in the title frame.

However, it appears as though that knock won’t be an issue for the December 30 card, as Woodley told ESPN“If Nate wants to go UFC 219, I’m ready.”

Well damn. No deal is signed yet and Diaz is supposedly difficult when it comes to contract negotiations, but this fight feels like the front-runner for the main event.