"How many Byrons do you know that are called Byrone?" Woodley said. "I'm going to walk out with no shirt on, just a tie, and then freeze in a running position. Then I'll stand outside the cage until they say my name right. I've been called Tyrone my whole life, but you know what? My name is not Tyrone! It's not a bad name. It's just not my name."
Woodley, an All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, is happy to be starting his career with Strikeforce. He fought on the undercard of Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields before fighting on the Challengers card. Woodley worked hard on being more than a wrestler.
"I felt like things were flowing; the transitions were smooth. I was able to go from strikes to takedowns, takedowns right to submission attempts or passing the guard. He got back to his feet a couple of times, but I got right back in his face. Some of the things I was working on have started to pay off."
Woodley has represented American Top Team in previous fights, but now is officially signed to the gym in Florida that also trains Mike Brown, Thiago Alves, Denis Kang and Thiago Silva. However, his affiliation with ATT will not keep him from touring different training camps, as he has done in the past.
"I've been fighting for American Top Team the entire time. It's just making an unofficial situation official. It really doesn't change anything. I had it built into my contract that I'm able to train at any gym I want to, and I'm not restricted. I'm a firm believer that you get better by being taught different techniques, and people have success for different reasons. While I can, I want to go learn as many different fighting styles as I can."
The growth of his fighting career hasn't stopped Woodley from fulfilling the duties of his favorite role, being a dad. He keeps his schedule so that he can spend time with his six-year-old son, Tyron Jr.
"He goes to the gym with me. You would think he's training. He'll watch something and then start doing it. He can throw knees, uppercuts and hooks. He loves it. The weeks I have him, he's just a normal kid. We do all the regular stuff. It's important to me. It is about choice, and be a part of his life, monitor his decisions and lead him the right way. That's my job as his dad."
Woodley is likely to continue fighting on the Challengers Series before he heads to the main event. There is no question that he is a fighter to watch in the welterweight division.
- Tyron Woodley