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Hector Lombard and Tyron Woodley Have A Slightly Different Understanding of What it Means to Be Teammates


(The same can be said about their understanding of the English language, it appears.)

You guys, I don’t want to instigate anything, but it sounds like Tyron Woodley *might* just be ducking Hector Lombard.

On the heels of a first round TKO of Dong Hyun Kim, Woodley has quickly rebounded from the three round drubbing he suffered at the hands of Rory MacDonald in June, and is in a prime position to receive another highly-ranked opponent. Enter Hector Lombard, currently ranked #6 (if UFC rankings are your thing) and riding back-to-back wins over Nate Marquardt and Jake Shields since dropping to welterweight. A fight with the #3 ranked Woodley makes sense for both men given their current trajectories, but Woodley isn’t having any part of it.

As things of this nature usually are, word of Woodley’s hesitance was first made public by Dana White during the UFC 177 media scrum:

I called Woodley and said, ‘Here’s what your teammate just said, and he wants this fight bad.’ And he said, ‘He can say whatever he wants, he’s about him and he’s always been about him. This fight doesn’t work for me and my brand.’ He started telling me all the reasons why he doesn’t want this fight and I just said, ‘Whatever kid, whatever.’ He wants nothing to do with Hector. Hector wants this fight, Woodley does not.

It’s not good for his brand? Is Woodley even aware that Lombard is the king of rebranding? That’s “Shower There” Lombard you’re talking about, so show some goddamn respect!

Woodley expounded upon his decision to turn down a possible fight with Lombard while on Inside MMA.

I always like to do the fights that make the most sense. Especially from American Top Team, my goal is to be the No. 1 guy, the world champion. It is a goal for my team to be No. 1. I’m an avid believer of ‘no strap, no scrap,’ so if there is not a world title on the line I’m not open to fight guys from ATT.

Okay, so Woodley doesn’t want to fight a teammate/friend. I can respect that. I fundamentally disagree with any fighter who claims to “want to be the best” while refusing to fight a teammate, but I can understand where Woodley’s coming from I suppose. American Top Team is a tightly run ship, so I hear, so surely Lombard feels the same way, right?

We’re not friends. He just comes to use the gym. He doesn’t even live here. It’s not a difficult decision at all. 

That doesn’t make sense anyway. I’m going to make him be the next Dana White. Is that fair? I don’t think that’s fair at all. You’ve got to do what the company wants you to do. I understand that once you get injured, there’s no way you can fight. Whoever you have to fight, you have to fight. Period.

I’ll be more than ready, and I’ll say again: We ain’t friends.

(MMAJunkie)

Ah, so they’re not friends, and Hector doesn’t even consider Woodley a true member of ATT. Looks like Woodley needs to purchase a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You, amiright ladies?

It’s hard to fault Woodley for his loyalty to his team, even when a supposed teammate has stated an outright desire to fight him, but on the other hand, “The Chosen One” isn’t exactly in the position to start picking and choosing the terms of his fight, and certainly not when it’s calling for a title shot. Even champions oft have little say over who they will fight next (especially if they fight at under 170 lbs), so Woodley’s refusal to fight Lombard and wait it out is presumptuous to say the least.

Considering that Dana White has already labeled Tyron as a guy who “chokes in big fights” (whether it’s true or otherwise), I don’t think it would be good for Woodley’s “brand” if “unwilling to fight” was added to that list.

-J. Jones

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