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Woodley has been protected by Strikeforce - Daley

ESPN staff
July 12, 2011

Don't miss Tuesday's ESPN UFC Podcast for an exclusive chat with Paul Daley, including his views on Nate Marquardt's axing from the UFC

Paul Daley predicts Tyron Woodley is heading for the shock of his life on July 30, insisting Strikeforce have been forced to throw him into a fight they would rather have avoided.

Daley had been set to face Evangelista Cyborg Santos at the end of the month, but injury left the Brit looking for a new opponent. With little over a month to find a worthy rival, Strikeforce were forced to turn to Woodley.

Woodley is currently 8-0, but Daley is convinced he was being groomed for a title shot off the back of that undefeated record. The former UFC star claims this will be the first time Woodley is truly tested, and the Brit is ready to deliver a lesson.

"He's done some talking, he said he doesn't see a problem against me anywhere [in the Octagon]. I take confidence from that because that means he's underestimating me," Daley told the ESPN UFC Podcast.

"The guy's got eight fights, the hardest one against Tarec Saffiedine. So he really shouldn't be coming out with that type of talk before he faces me. Showtime and Strikeforce see a lot of potential in him, so all his opponents will have been carefully handpicked. He fights Galvao who's a pure jiu-jitsu guy, he fights another guy who's not very good at anything, and then he fights Saffiedine who is of equal experience but doesn't have Woodley's wrestling background.

"So his opponents were handpicked and geared towards making him a Strikeforce star. I'm the spanner in the works. There's a point in every fighter's career when promoters says, 'We've done our best, now you're gonna have to deal with this'. It's up all to Tyron now, his managers have done their best, this is the fight where we'll see what he's made of."

The welterweight bout will not be for the Strikeforce title vacated by Nick Diaz, and it has not even been officially confirmed that the winner will get to fight for the title. Daley believes that is because only Woodley will get rewarded for a victory.

"It's not for the title, but it's kind of a title eliminator. What they mean to say is that if Tyron Woodley wins, he'll get a title shot. If Paul Daley wins, I'll probably have to fight another fight. They've left the door open, by saying it's 'probably for the title shot', that means when Woodley gets knocked out they can say 'Daley has to fight again before he gets a shot'."

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