Chael Sonnen believes Tyron Woodley is a harder fight for UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya than most may think.
The pair have been going at each other on social media ever since Woodley revealed his plan of moving up to middleweight while adding that he felt Adesanya was scared of fighters with power.
Many have since speculated how a fight between the two would go. While Woodley undoubtedly has more power, Adesanya is the bigger man with superior striking leading most to believe “The Last Stylebender” would come out on top.
But Sonnen feels it’s a tougher matchup for Adesanya given that Woodley would be moving up to face him.
“That fight’s not gonna happen. Woodley followed that callout up by saying there’s four fights I need to do at welterweight,” Sonnen told Submission Radio. “Unless he wins all four, he’s not gonna bump up and get a shot to be the champ-champ if you will. But that’s actually a really hard fight for Adesanya. I mean, it really is.
“The hardest guy to fight is the guy one weight class below you. He’s just a little bit quicker than what you’re used to and he can go just a little bit longer because he’s a little bit lighter and he doesn’t get tired quite as fast. The hardest guy to fight is one weight underneath you. And I realize what people are gonna do, they’re all gonna dismiss Tyron, and go ahead, because the fight’s not gonna happen anyway. But if that fight happened, that’s a lot harder and a lot closer match than many might think.”
While he doesn’t believe the fight will happen in the future, Sonnen did praise Woodley for using Adesanya to get his name in the headlines.
“So many fighters are missing the mark right now,” he added. “It is so easy to get a headline. If you are a fighter and you are not in the headlines, you are doing something wrong. Most guys are saying, look, there’s no fights going on so there’s no fights to talk about. Okay, that’s true. But if everybody is doing that and everybody is taking their oars out of the water, now’s the time to strike, you can go up and get all the [headlines].
“Tony Ferguson is the biggest star in sports over the last 10 days, and all he did was put his ass on a scale. But it was the only thing that happened. We’ve all been talking about it. We had no choice but to talk about it. It was a brilliant move, even with just a marketing standpoint – which, Tony had a lot of other reasons to do that – I’m just saying that was a very brilliant move. So, if you’re Tyron Woodley, I don’t think Tyron was out just having fun, but if he was just looking to just get attention, always go after Adesanya because Adesanya will always respond. Adesanya doesn’t look to the number one contenders. Don’t forget, Adesanya just fought Yoel Romero, who is not a number one contender, who is coming off a loss. That fight made no sense. He got a fight with Yoel cause he doesn’t like him and he told Dana that. He said, ‘hey, don’t punish me for my success, I got in this business cause there’s some guys that I want to fight, and if you’re telling me I don’t get to fight them now because I’ve done so well at fighting, that’s not what I’ve signed up for,’ and Dana goes, okay, you’re fighting Yoel Romero. So, my only point to you is, don’t think Adesanya is going to run and hide if you’re a lower name or you’re not likely to get in there with him. If you say his name, he will say your name back.”
For now, Woodley is expected to face one of Colby Covington or Leon Edwards next. Adesanya, meanwhile, is expected to defend his title against Paulo Costa.
Do you agree with Sonnen about Woodley and Adesanya?