The callout of Nurmagomedov, which stemmed from “The Hollywood Beatdown” segment he does with TMZ Sports, comes from a place of respect, Woodley said. “The Chosen One” is looking for challenges that push him, and undefeated lightweight champion Nurmagomedov is one of them.
They’re a weight class apart, so Woodley (19-4-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) acknowledged a fight would have to be at catchweight. He previously suggested a fight at 165 pounds.
“He’s a beast, and I just think right now, in my life, in my career, I need the impossible,” Woodley said at a fan Q&A this past Friday ahead of the UFC on ESPN+ 16 weigh-ins in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “I need the stuff that nobody can do, I need the thing that’s going to motivate me beyond measure, and I think that he provides that. Obviously I could never make 155 (pounds), so it would have to be something at a catchweight. It would have to be something that he would be interested in. He’s on the top of the world right now. I may not be an option for him, so it’s more out of respect of what he can do.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) has been able to outgrapple and handle every one of his opponents in the octagon so far. Most recently, he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. Division-I All-American wrestler Woodley would love to go out there and test himself against him.
“I know Dustin. Dustin has sparred with middleweights (and) light heavyweights, and for (Nurmagomedov) to go out there and put on a performance like that against Dustin, I’ve got to see what it feels like.”