Coming off of another impressive first round stoppage over Dong Hyun Kim, UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley continues to be an enigma in the division.

There is no question he is talented—he is currently ranked #3 in the official UFC welterweight rankings—but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is a true threat to the welterweight title. Michael Bisping is a perfect example of a talented fighter who is always at the top of the heap but has never really a title contender.

Why Woodley is a Contender

Woodley really has the look of a contender. While he is a little on the shorter side, he has a long reach and a powerful build. His natural speed and athleticism paired with a superior wrestling game and knockout power make him a formidable matchup for any welterweight.

When you look at his resume Woodley has recorded some nice wins over elite competition; Andre Galvao, Tarec Saffiedine, Paul Daley, Jay Hieron, Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit are all notches on his belt.

Why Woodley is a Pretender

Even though Woodley has the look and feel of a contender, his losses are major “Pretender” warning flags. His first career loss came at the hands of Nate Marquardt for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title. His next two losses were at the hands of perennial grinder Jake Shields and young gun Rory MacDonald.

In no way are these losses a knock against his talent; all three men are as tough and talented as they come. They just highlight that in the biggest spots Woodley seems to come up short.

The Verdict – Still undecided but leaning towards pretender

Being undecided still may be a bit of a copout but at this point in Woodley’s career, but I think it is still a little too early to tell where he belongs. His losses have me worried and leaning towards pretender, but his talent and potential is undeniable.

I really feel like Woodley’s fight against Condit was a lost opportunity. Had Condit’s knee not blown out I feel like we would have been able to better gauge Woodley. For now though, I feel like a bout against Hector Lombard would tell us all we need to know about Woodley.

Lombard’s last two wins have come over two fighters who have both bested Woodley. Given his Olympic Judo pedigree and his violent power, Lombard would be a tough matchup for Woodley.

Until we see more  the jury on Woodley is still out.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.