We had the opportunity to speak with Strikeforce welterweight contender Tyron Woodley yesterday ahead of the busy grand opening weekend of his St. Louis American Top Team affiliate gym, ATT Evolution and we touched on a variety of topics including his upcoming bout with Canadian prospect Jordan Mein, his gym’s revolutionary youth program and the rampant use of PEDs in the sport. We also touched on his thoughts on the inevitable GSP-Diaz match-up and why he thinks Stockton’s best fighter was right to turn down a fight with him.
Check out the highlights of our chat with T-Wood below:
On being matched up with relative Strikeforce newcomer, Mein:
He’s had 30 fights in total, so whether they were under the Strikeforce banner or not, he’s fought some legitimate guys and he’s a worthy opponent, so I know why it makes sense to fight him. Once people see us fight, they’ll know why it makes sense as well.
On why Nick Diaz wouldn’t fight him:
His kryptonite is wrestlers — wrestlers in good shape and wrestlers who have power and boxing ability. For him, at that point in his career he wanted to basically fight guys that were strikers, fight guys that would entertain with slugfests. For him to fight a guy like me who wasn’t yet ranked in the top 10 and was trying to make a name for myself, it wouldn’t have been wise for him to take a risky fight, lose and then his marketability goes down. You fight Georges St-Pierre and you make like quadruple the amount of money you make to fight me. Win or lose you still kind of stay at the same market you’re at or you go up higher.
On who he sees winning an eventual Diaz-GSP match-up:
It all depends on which GSP we get. We’ve seen several GSPs. We’ve got the one ace who fought Matt Hughes and Jon Fitch — the guy who was just really dominant. I think he wins the fight and I think he wins every last round, but I think if he over-utilizes the jab and is super conservative and super patient and just does enough to squeak out the rounds, Diaz might take those shots and he might get in there and give him a run for his money.
On which discipline is dominating the sport right now:
If you look at it, it’s the wrestlers with the striking. Look at Jon Jones…look at Dominick Cruz…look at all of these guys who are successful…except Anderson Silva…. Look at every champion that we have — even Cain Velasquez who just lost — and they were 99.9 percent wrestlers with the exception of Anderson Silva. I consider Georges St-Pierre a wrestler. He does a lot of wrestling and goes against wrestlers and takes them down. I think where our sport is transitioning to is high level wrestling, great conditioning and amazing striking and guys that are just tough. I think the slower-paced fighters are going to get weeded out.
On his new gym and his revolutionary youth program that extends far beyond the mats:
What I’m trying to do with this project is incorporate fitness into the household. We cater to the families and offer classes from two to four every day for kids and anybody can get involved. I’ve seen 80-year-olds in the gi. We let the parents know why we’re doing this and how we plan on doing it and let them know it’s a safe environment. If they get into a fight they’re in trouble with me. If they’re acting up and are disrespectful [at home], they’re in trouble. If they’re fighting at school, they’re going to sit and watch. For me, I reinforce what they’re doing in the home and overall I think the parents are going to appreciate what we’re doing and how we’re going to bring it to their family.
On the alleged epidemic of fighters using PEDs:
I think for me it would be [a case of me] doing more research [it would take too much time and energy] to find out who’s doing what and in what way they’re using it and how they’re trying to… At the end of the day, it’s like with anything done fast, it really don’t last. I haven’t seen anybody that’s been a drug dealer retire from [the money they've made] selling drugs. You know what I mean? They either stop while they’re ahead, they go to jail or they end up dead. In this case, most people that are doing [PEDs], they don’t want to work, but they want to surf by. I feel that most of the people doing PEDs or growth hormones or whatever they’re using, if I lose to them, I was going to lose to them [anyway], because they’ve still gotta train, they’ve still gotta be in shape and they’ve still gotta know the discipline. Taking a shot or a pill doesn’t teach you how to punch or proper technique. I have confidence that I’m in good enough shape and training tough enough that I win my bouts whether my opponents are using those extreme supplements or not.
It would take way more energy for me to investigate and form an opinion about it then to just go and train hard. It’s pretty gross out there; let me just tell you that right now. It’s rampant. It’s all over the place and it’s not even really frowned upon anymore. It’s casually distributed and used. It’s unfortunate. It’s not like it’s a situation where certain people have very low testosterone levels and they’ve been prescribed [TRT] through a physician a proper level so they can compete. Most of those people are 40-something and over. I think if you’re 29 and you train hard, your testosterone levels are fine. What we have is people who have access to physicians who are like, ‘You know that, you’re a little bit low. Let me get you back up there where you need to be or higher.’ From the studies I’ve heard that basically if you do it moderately or as recommended, then usually there’s a point where you get off. Nobody ever gets off. They stay on it the whole time. They feel how strong they get, they feel how fast they recover and it’s never used with any formula. Even with the scientific glitch in there, nobody ever gets off it. They just keep going. I just try to focus on the training because I’d be all day trying to figure out who’s on it, who’s not and all of the above.