THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 6/29: Tyron Woodley to defend against Demian Maia, winner faces GSP (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

George St. Piette (photo by Wade Keller © MMATorch)

Georges St-Pierre’s path to a return fight following the cancellation of his fight with Michael Bisping gained some clarity this week.

UFC announced Wednesday night that Tyron Woodley would defend his UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 214 against Demian Maia. The fight is the third championship bout scheduled for the July 29 event from Anaheim underneath Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and a UFC Featherweight Championship fight between Cris Cyborg and Tonya Evinger.

Perhaps more important than the Woodley-Maia fight itself was the revelation that St-Pierre will take on the winner later this year. UFC President spoke to MMA Junkie about the plans.

“Georges and I talked a couple days ago when he was in Vegas,” White said. “Georges is saying he wants to fight; we’ll get this thing figured out. We’re talking about Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. These two are going to fight soon. That will free up the 170-pound champion for Georges St-Pierre to return and try to regain his belt.”

The most likely date and location for a GSP title challenge would be UFC 217 on Nov. 4 from New York City. St-Pierre has been consistent in wanting to fight “after October” and has also hinted at the prospect of a big fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

So while St-Pierre, Woodley, and Maia’s trajectories are all set, odd-man-out Michael Bisping, rather than having a big money fight with GSP to look forward to, is looking at a war with either Robert Whittaker or Yoel Romero.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: This might be a best case scenario for everyone except Bisping. Maia still gets the title shot he deserves, and GSP can fight late in the year as he has requested and will get a fight that makes more sense than moving up to challenge at middleweight. I predict Woodley will beat Maia, and the idea of Woodley vs. GSP is very interesting. Woodley’s style very much resembles the old Johny Hendricks that gave St-Pierre all kinds of trouble in GSP’s last fight in 2013. Woodley is a strong, durable wrestler with heavy hands. Stylistically, GSP probably matches up better with Maia, but whomever he fights, his wrestling game will need to be as close to the level as it was in his prime as possible and, at 36 years old, that’s a major question.


-Dana White told MMA Junkie that Conor McGregor would like to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia following the Floyd Mayweather fight.

-Donald Cerrone revealed yesterday that it is a blood infection that is keeping him from his fight with Robbie Lawler at UFC 213. Dana White said that the fight would not be rescheduled for UFC 214 as had been previously reported. (SOURCE)

-Finally from Dana White, he gave MMA Junkie the following tongue-in-cheek statement regarding Demetrious Johnson: “You want Ray Borg, we’ll give you Ray Borg,” White said. “I’m sure the fans will be clamoring, and ticket sales will be through the roof, and pay-per-views will be off the charts.”

-Michelle Waterson will be on the cover of ESPN’s upcoming “body issue” set to hit newsstands on July 7.

-Johny Hendricks told Submission Radio that the reason he missed weight for his fight with Tim Boetsch last weekend was that he was running a fever in the final days of his weight cut. “My family was going through sickness for three weeks prior to the fight and I laughed because I didn’t get it,” Hendricks said. “I was super excited. Awesome, nothing’s going on. Until you start cutting weight. I showed up and I think I was 13 [pounds] over and I drank 10 pounds of fluids that day and, at that point, you’re fighting not only the weight but also your body. It just sucks because 185 is not that hard to make, but whenever you’re sick, it is. You’re body’s not gonna give up anything and, the next thing you know, you’re trying to turn right around in 48 hours and fight for your life.”

-The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has said that they will not license Renan Barao for what was to be his return to bantamweight at UFC 214. Instead, his fight with Aljamain Sterling will be held at a 140 pound catchweight. “The last time we had to regulate Mr. Barao at 135, it didn’t turn out so good,” CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster told FloCombat. “He didn’t make it to the fight. Our doctors and our commission staff, we are certainly not against the fight. We’re happy with the fight. Just not at 135.” (SOURCE)


-Andre Harrison vs. Steven Rodriguez at PFL: Everett on July 29 from Everett, Washington.

-Bibiano Fernandes vs. Andrew Leone at ONE: Kings & Conquerors on Aug. 5 from Macao, China.

-Randa Markos vs. Alexa Grasso at UFC Fight Night Mexico City on Aug. 5.

-Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 215 on Sept. 9 from Edmonton, Alberta.


Watch the first Amanda Nunes-Valentina Shevchenko from UFC 196 ahead of their rematch at UFC 213 next week.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 6/28: More potential changes with UFC 213 leading to deep UFC 214 including Cerrone-Lawler (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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