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Tyron Woodley draws Stephen Thompson for first UFC title defense

When Tyron Woodley won the UFC welterweight belt with a knockout of Robbie Lawler in July, he immediately said he wanted to eschew a fight with top contender Stephen Thompson in favor of potential big-money matchups with either Nick Diaz or Georges St. Pierre.

He won’t get his wish.

Woodley confirmed Friday he would defend the title against Thompson on the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.

Thompson has earned the spot as the top contender in the 170-pound division with seven straight wins, including four by knockout.

Still, he doesn’t have the name recognition or star power as longtime stars Diaz or St. Pierre. Woodley said he wanted to take full advantage of holding the belt by taking on one of those guys who would guarantee a big payday.

Instead, he has agreed to take on Thompson as part of the UFC’s first card in Madison Square Garden.

Woodley announced the bout during an appearance on the Fox Sports 1 weigh-in show in advance of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 94 card in Hidalgo, Texas.

“I’ve got some big news for you guys,” Woodley said. “I’ll be taking on Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in New York City, Nov. 12, UFC 205, Madison Square Garden.”

Woodley has won his last three fights, capped by the first-round knockout of Lawler.

The bout is not expected to serve as the main event for UFC 205.

A welterweight bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Kelvin Gastelum is expected on the card, along with a matchup of middleweight contenders Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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