Sean Woodson (10-1-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) will look to defeat Charles Jourdain (15-6-1 MMA, 6-5-1 UFC) in Jourdain’s home country of Canada at UFC 297 in Toronto.
Woodson said Jourdain is “without a doubt” his biggest name and most skilled adversary to date, and that the matchmakers knew what they were doing when they organized the featherweight bout.
” You’ve got two guys who don’t want no part of the ground game,” Woodson told MMASucka. “We’re both fan-friendly fighters looking for the knockout. This is going to be one of those fights where, I know it’s real cliche to say, there will be no judges needed. They can take a break, go to the back, get some food during our fight, because I don’t think it’ll be going the distance.”
Jourdain is a heavy kicker, and Woodson believes the Canadian’s kicks are his best weapon, while Woodson says his hands are his best tool. Woodson has a 78-inch reach to Jourdain’s 69, according to Tapology.
“I feel like my reach and my accuracy and my sharp boxing will present a lot of problems for him,” Woodson said. “A problem that he hasn’t seen yet. He might have been up against other sharp strikers before, but he hasn’t been up against a 6’2”, 80-inch reach striker. He’s on the shorter end … Me having the length and reach advantage by a long shot will give him a lot of problems.”
Woodson said his opponents have said they try to bring in long, tall guys to help prepare for the St. Louis native’s stand-up.
“I truly believe there’s no one on the face of the Earth you can bring in to mimic my style or mimic the way I move,” he said. “You might find another long guy, but you ain’t finding a long guy who moves the way I do, thinks the way I think and is built the way I am, both literally and figuratively.”
Woodson enters the fight as a +150 underdog on most books, to Jourdain’s -185. He will also be in enemy territory where the crowd is likely to strongly favor Jourdain. Woodson said these are the situations where he wants to be in, though.
“If I can have it my way, I would be the underdog my entire career for every fight. I feed off that. I feel like that’s where I perform my best; when my back is against the wall. When people are expecting me to not do good; that’s where I’m at my best. That’s another one of these fights where I’m going to be in enemy territory and I’m going to be the underdog. I’m looking forward to shaking things up.”
Woodson’s motivation for this fight runs deeper than just securing another win in a crowded featherweight division against his toughest test to date. He has responded to memes that Jourdain has posted on Instagram once the fight was booked.
“I don’t think he exactly knows what he’s doing when he does that,” Woodson said. “If he did, he wouldn’t. I knew that going into this. I’ve had my eye on that dude for a while. I’ve seen every single time he gets a match-up, he starts going at his opponents online and posting all the little cute funny sh–. I was expecting that. I was ready for it. I’ve seen the cute little things he’s said at me. I’ve started to clap back and respond to him online, but I thought it’d be better if I wait and respond on fight night.”
The jokes have added more fuel to Woodson’s fire, he said.
“When you’re fighting somebody, that’s the last thing you want. In a perfect world, I would like every one of my opponents to be nice, relaxed, sleeping on me and not training hard and not giving me extra motivation and incentive to train hard. I’m already a motivated dude as is. I train hard as hell as is. All that cute sh– he does online has just been adding to that.”
Woodson defeated Dennis Buzukja in his most recent bout on Aug. 5. Buzukja initiated the grappling against Woodson by clinching with him, shooting double-leg takedowns and pushing him against the fence. Woodson felt the strength difference on his side and showed a new wrinkle to his game by out-grappling Buzukja. Woodson said he would not have grappled Buzukja otherwise. He has similar plans for Jourdain.
“I think [Jourdain] is planning on mixing in some wrestling and grappling. He’s a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu. He has some submission wins. I feel like his Plan A will be to come out and strike with me. But once the striking doesn’t go his way, I think he’ll default to grappling with me … I don’t have a thought at all of grappling with this dude. But if he comes in and grabs a hold of me, I’ll be more than willing to engage.”
Woodson said he will finish Jourdain “for sure.”
“I’ll either TKO him on the feet, or if the striking doesn’t go his way and he starts desperately trying to get me to the ground, I’ll snatch up his neck or snatch up a limb. Something similar to his fights. Two of the submissions he has on his record both come from not him trying to grapple with them but them trying to grapple with him and then defensively catching their necks. I’ll either finish him with strikes or he’ll try to get me down, leave something open, and I’ll take it.”
Woodson and Jourdain are set to compete on the UFC 297 prelims.
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