Former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos is a top contender to the welterweight crown and he believes Woodley delayed getting the shoulder surgery done.
“Here’s the thing: I was ready to fight Woodley,” Dos Anjos said on The MMA Hour. “After I beat (Robbie) Lawler (last December), I thought that Woodley would be the next guy. Long story short, after the Demian Maia fight, after Woodley fought Demian, he knew he hurt his shoulder. He should get surgery right away. He took six months to get surgery, right? And then he wants to fight (Michael) Bisping, and then he wants to fight (Nate) Diaz, and then GSP, then Conor (McGregor). None of these fights happened, so he knew the next guy in line was me. So I was told that he would be ready to fight in November, December. I said no, I can’t wait that long. I told Sean Shelby I can’t wait that long. My last fight was December 2017. I can’t wait until December 2018. It’s one year. I have a family, I have things to do.”
Woodley is expected to defend his gold against the winner of an interim title bout at UFC 225 between Dos Anjos and Colby Covington.
Dos Anjos even believes that Woodley allegedly delayed the planned shoulder surgery in hopes to get a bigger opponent in his next bout.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Dos Anjos said. “I don’t think it’s not to fight me. He wants to fight somebody else. He wants to fight a big name. That’s what it looks like, because I was told that he said, ‘Okay, I’ll be ready to fight in June with GSP.’ No, no, Tyron, you’re going to fight RDA. ‘No, no. RDA, only in November.’ That’s it, man. I can’t wait. I have a life. I have bills to pay, like anybody, and I can’t just wait for one guy. Man, he got hurt with Maia. He should get surgery the next day. For me, as a fighter, I don’t want lose six months. Even when he had an injury, he still wanted to fight Nate Diaz. I don’t get it. If you need surgery, and you’re willing to take a fight with somebody? So I think he’s just trying to get a bigger fight, a bigger name.”
UFC 225 takes place on Saturday, June 9 from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.