Maia has proved to be a top welterweight contender after dropping down from the middleweight division and is on a seven-fight winning streak dating back to 2014 and will get his second chance at getting UFC gold.
Woodley is concentrating on his opponent but was asked on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour about former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and his long awaited return to the Octagon. Initially, St-Pierre was scheduled to face Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. However, a delay in St-Pierre’s schedule dealing with an eye injury scrapped the middleweight title matchup and UFC President Dana White insisted that “Rush” will fight for the welterweight title when he is ready to compete again.
“To be flat out honest, I don’t think he wants to fight me,” Woodley said on The MMA Hour (transcribed by Peter Carroll for MMA Fighting).
“I think he wants to fight someone like Stephen Thompson. (GSP will) think, ‘(Thompson) is someone I’ve trained with, he’s not going to hit me with a concussion.’
“Think about why (GSP) left the sport. He said he had some personal issues. He also spoke about the rampant usage of PEDs in the sport, and also, concussions.”
Woodley is known for his knockout power, which is what won him the UFC welterweight title against Robbie Lawler at UFC 201.
“What guy that’s on the list is going to give him a concussion besides me?” Woodley asked.
“Not Demian Maia, most likely not Michael Bisping. Bisping is known for enduring damage, being resilient and always pushing forward.
“Most likely not ‘Wonderboy’, because Georges came from a sport karate background. He’s trained with Stephen Thompson.
“I think if ‘Wonderboy’ had beat me, (GSP) would have fought him. If Demian Maia comes out on top this weekend, I think he’ll fight him.
“I just don’t think that he wants to come in after three years and face a guy like me who is completely determined not to lose his belt.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/25/2017.