Woodson Returns at SFC 307
Coming into his main event bout at Saturday's Shamrock FC 307, Sean Woodson has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Multiple delays has put the hungry, 26-year-old out of action for nearly nine months.
After scoring his third professional win in the summer of 2017, Woodson seemed on a roll, but it was a fight with Seth Basler last fall where things started to turn the other direction. A first time cut to featherweight, and a fight week illness translated to a flat performance in the cage. Despite getting the win, a hand injury suffered in the fight put the undefeated Woodson (4-0) out of action.
"Last year I had those three big wins," Woodson said. "I was a little bit under the weather making '45, was the first time making that weight and I pretty much did it all by myself. I'm not a nutritionist and don't know too much about that, but I still made the weight. This time I have a nutritionist with me, making '45 or making any weight will be so much easier. I'll have a lot more energy."
After recovering for the injury, Woodson took a flight to Las Vegas to try out for this past season of the Ultimate Fighter. Woodson joined Luis Pena, Eric Ellington, and Dakota Bush among potential, local hopefuls among the featherweight and lightweight competitors.
"I went out there and tried out for TUF," Woodson said. "That had me held up for a little while because I was pretty sure I was going to make it on that show. I ended up sitting on standby for a month and a half, and they ended up choosing me as an alternate. That stung pretty bad being that close to the UFC and coming up short."
Once the opportunity to make the show passed, Woodson took a fight with top lightweight Garrett Gross, but the fight never materialized.
"I had a fight scheduled for March against Garrett Gross, he got injured," Woodson said. "Then Rashard stepped in, he got injured, and that fight fell through. So here we are now, I got this fight scheduled."
With lack of a fight and the missed TUF opportunity, the fire inside Woodson is even hotter.
"Going out there and seeing the competition and just watching the season now seeing everyone on the show, I haven't seen one guy that I'm impressed with," he said. "I feel like I would have smoked every last one of those guys, and that's why I'm just on the hunt now to prove they missed out on the right guy. "
Despite the delays, Woodson says he has continued to improve, and Saturday's contest with 40-year-old journeyman Dawond Pickney (15-10) is the first step moving forward.
"I've been out for a while, but the entire time I've been training, studying, learning and I've been getting better," Woodson said. "You'll see a much more faster paced Sean Woodson. My last fight, really my last two opponents they seem to have accepted my reach advantage and the fact they weren't going to be able to get in on me, and they weren't even fighting to win, but not to get finished by me. This Dawond Pickney, I don't feel like he'll be that way at all. He's going to get hit a couple of times and say 'I got to do something about this,' and really come at me which will present the finish I've been looking for."
Confident with his bout with Pickney, Woodson is looking to follow Gross' route, getting on Dana White's Contender Series. Gross (who was originally slated for 307's main event) will compete on July 31 vs. undefeated Roosevelt Roberts.
"After I pick up this win, I plan on trying to get on the Contender Series," Woodson said. "That's what I am aiming for, getting on the Contender Series and then into the UFC and take out all those guys that were on the show that are still in the UFC."
Having one time competed at numerous different weight classes, Woodson has finally found a home at featherweight.
"Lightweight is super easy for me to make, but I want to continue to fight at '45," Woodson said. "I feel like I'm one of the biggest 45'ers in the world. If you look at the UFC lightweight division, the guy with the longest reach is James Vick or Tony Ferguson, and his reach is 76 inches, my reach is 78 inches. So I have a longer reach than anyone if the UFC's lightweight division and I'm fighting at featherweight. Featherweight is definitely going to be my home, and that's going to be the division I get into the UFC with."
The promise of a new year holds the promise of new opportunities, and Woodson plans on putting the pedal to the metal.
"I'm hoping to get four or five fights in, I don't like sitting around," he said. "I'm looking to be active and stay active."
Confident and ready for Pickney, Woodson hopes that this is his last time fighting locally.
"After this fight, I'm going to be 5-0, and I just don't see anyone around that has anything for me," Woodson said. "I'm looking forward to fighting on the big shows, on the big stage. I've been sitting back and watching guys for three to four years now. I'm getting tired of watching fights on the weekends with my friends and saying 'I can beat that guy,' I'm ready to get in there and show them."
Catch Woodson vs. Pickney as the main event of Shamrock FC: 307, live at the Ameristar Casino St. Charles and streamed online at FloCombat.
Photo courtesy of Shamrock FC and Mike Hume Photography