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Tyron Woodley: Kamaru Usman's flaws would lead to 'waking up with the smelling salt' against me

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UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley gave credit to Kamaru Usman for his dominant victory over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 129.

However, it’s clear Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) doesn’t see much of a threat out of Usman (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC), who, with his unanimous-decision win over Maia (25-9 MMA, 19-9 UFC) on Saturday, pushed his overall winning streak to 12.

Usman appeared on the UFC Fight Night 129 post-fight show on FS1 following the FS1-televised event, which took place at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, and conducted an interview with backstage reporter Laura Sanko. At the conclusion of the conversation, Sanko asked “The Nigerian Nightmare” if he had a message for Woodley, who was working the studio desk for the event.

Although Usman was respectful toward Woodley, he made it obvious there’s only one desired end game for his assent up the 170-pound rankings.

“Hey, champ: You know my social media hasn’t changed since I got in the game five years ago,” Usman said. “Welterweight, and I’m coming for that gold strap. And with that performance, even with some handicaps, no one can deny that I’m definitely top five right now in the division.”

When the broadcast cut back to a live shot of Woodley following the interview, “The Chosen One” smirked and rolled his eyes. Woodley has been respectful of Usman when asked about him in previous interviews. There wasn’t anything different in this case. However, he did bluntly state that Usman might have some holes to close in his game before challenging for a title.

“Kamaru Usman, congratulations,” Woodley said. “I don’t ever want to take away the credit. Demian Maia is a game opponent. Me as the champion, I’m always welcoming any challenger. Just make it to that point, I’ll be on the other side of the octagon. I did see a couple things that if you do against me, you might end up waking up with the smelling salt. But hey, hats off to you. Great job. Just being real.”

Woodley hasn’t competed since defending his title against Maia at UFC 214 in July. He’s expecting a late-summer return to the octagon, and that will almost certainly come against the winner of next month’s UFC 225 interim welterweight title fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 129, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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