Last night, the UFC touched down in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with UFC on Fox 26. In the card’s main event, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler clashed in a perceived welterweight number one contender fight.
It promised to be a grueling affair, and indeed the in-cage action delivered on that promise when dos Anjos and Lawler threw down in a hard-fought, five-round affair that featured a ton of action from both sides.
Rafael dos Anjos continues his march to a 170-pound title shot with an impressive five-round unanimous decision win over Robbie Lawler.
Woodley didn’t dispute his claim to be next in line, but at the same time, he didn’t seem to be too impressed with what he saw from Dos Anjos while speaking at FOX Sports 1 post-fight show.
“In my opinion what I saw tonight, if any of those two guys in that bout would fight me, one of those guys is going to get knocked out,” Woodley said on the FS1 post-fight show. “I saw the IQ wasn’t as high as I would’ve liked for a guy in a No. 1 contendership fight. Both of those guys talked about pushing the pace, and they were going to do this, and they were going to do that. I saw a ton of openings for myself in both of those fights.
“Obviously, I don’t want to steal the shine. RDA had a great moment, he went out there and did his job. Robbie Lawler’s a very dangerous opponent and he’s knocked out so many different people but just being honest and keeping it 100-percent, I’m the champion for a reason.”
"If (the winner of RDA/Lawler) were to fight me…they would get knocked out."@TWooodley assesses the welterweight landscape and the performance of @RdosAnjosMMA! #UFCWinnipeg https://t.co/9N6TJ9Ubii
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 17, 2017
Woodley is currently sidelined dealing with a shoulder injury that will need surgery. Dos Anjos, who has had a very busy last six months where he had three UFC bouts, has since stated that he is more than willing to rest and wait for the champion to return.
Woodley speaks with even more confidence when it comes to Lawler given that the two actually fought back in July 2016 at UFC 201. Where Woodley became the welterweight champion over Lawler via first-round KO. Woodley added he isn’t capable of performing at high level.
“I don’t think Robbie Lawler’s slowed down,” Woodley said. “I think his game plan was appropriate, but he didn’t come off of the rope-a-dope. He blocked the shots, he had the pressure, but he never came off punching.”
By beating the number two ranked fighter, Dos Anjos certainly made a very strong case to earn the next title shot. But as we have seen many times in this sport, things can change very quickly, and title shots aren’t always based on merit.