Over the past week, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has repeatedly stated that he wants to face Georges St-Pierre in his next fight. In fact, Tyron Woodley sent a tweet out on Saturday night where he said: “Let’s go @GeorgesStPierre no more running.” Although Tyron would like GSP as his next fight, he should think twice about that because it will be like the Rory MacDonald fight.
Throughout his MMA career, Tyron Woodley has shown a willingness to surrender octagon or cage space in an attempt to force the opponent to be the aggressor and close the distance. This strategy gives him a chance to pick up tendencies and defensive flaws he could exploit during the fight. For instance, during the fight against Kelvin Gastelum, Woodley realized that Gastelum wouldn’t move his right hand from the ribcage area. One would assume that Kelvin Gastelum’s decision to place the right hand by the ribcage; was because he wanted to have the hand in position to get an under hook just in case Woodley shot for a takedown. However, his decision meant that he was leaving the right side of his face exposed to be hit. As a result, Woodley developed a game plan where he would repeatedly target the exposed side of Gastelum’s face. For example, Tyron Woodley would continuously faint or throw the left jab followed by the overhand right to that side of the face. Eventually, the game plan helped Tyron Woodley get a unanimous decision over Kelvin Gastelum.
However, one can argue that Tyron Woodley’s fighting style will be the catalyst for him losing against Georges St-Pierre. This is because, over time, GSP has learned how to become good at every aspect of the game. A complete fighter, he has grown confident in his ability to hold his own and possibly succeed in every fight he takes on. A student of the sport, he also diligently watch tapes of the opponent and develops a game plan around their weakness. His second fight against Josh Koscheck alone displays not only his sheer dominance but also his uncanny ability to anticipate moves. Aware that Koscheck would shoot for a takedown to get the fight to the ground, he and his coach Firas Zahabi developed a game plan where they would make Koscheck think twice about regularly coming forward. As a result, they decided to feature a heavy diet of the left jab; this punch allows a fighter to stay active while being out of his opponents range. This strategy frustrated Koscheck because he was never able to get within reach to shoot for a takedown.
As a result of GSP being a complete fighter, it will be difficult for Tyron Woodley to find a weakness that he could exploit against St-Pierre. Therefore, he will spend a good portion of the fight with his back up against the fence trying to figure out when he should dart forward to throw the overhand right or get into grappling range. Unfortunately, Tyron Woodley used that strategy before against St-Pierre’s teammate Rory MacDonald. GSP will watch that fight and realized that the way to beat Woodley is by throwing a ton of left jabs while standing on the edge of the pocket. This is because it allows St-Pierre to land some strikes on Woodley without having to be in grappling range. Furthermore, it also gives GSP the option to circle out in either direction or take a few steps back out of range when Woodley darts forward.