DALLAS -- Tyron Woodley took every critique against him -- boring, old, slowing down -- and delivered a brutal right hand to each one, scoring a second-round submission victory over Darren Till in the main event of UFC 228.
In one of the most impressive wins of his career, Woodley got the finish with a D'Arce choke. But the fight was effectively over when Woodley dropped Till with his right hand and continued his attack on the ground, finally getting the 25-year-old Liverpool native to tap at 4:19 of the second round of Saturday night's welterweight title fight.
"This victory is pretty awesome," Woodley said. "I want to thank my coaches, everybody who put this together. Till is a tough kid; I'm not surprised he survived my ground and pound. What I'm going to do, I'm going to continue fighting whoever they put in front of me, and I will beat them up. I'm the best welterweight of all times."
Woodley, who came in a slight underdog against the previously undefeated Till, successfully defended his title for the fourth time, which is the most by any active champion. Woodley tied Pat Miletich for the third-longest title defense streak in welterweight history.
While Woodley's victory put an exclamation point on one of the most exciting cards in UFC history, his past two title defenses were far from exciting. At UFC 209, in his rematch against Stephen Thompson, he landed just 54 significant strikes over five rounds, winning a majority decision. And in his previous fight, at UFC 214 against Demian Maia, he landed just 57 significant strikes and stuffed all 21 of Maia's takedown attempts. Both victories drew harsh criticism from UFC president Dana White.
White, however, did not address the media or Woodley after UFC 228 -- to the amusement of Woodley.
"He left?" Woodley asked with a smile. "At the end of the day, what speaks louder than going out there and being victorious? Dana might say something this week or next week, but I don't take offense to it. I just go out there and win. My goal is to be the greatest in the world, and if I have to go through a whole bunch of different obstacles to get that, I'm built for it. That what I'm here for."
Woodley (19-3-1) is unbeaten in his past seven fights (6-0-1) after recording his fifth career win by submission and his first since 2009. Woodley, who fought for the first time in 406 days, is expected to next fight Colby Covington, who was the interim UFC welterweight champion, although Woodley wasn't ready to make that fight official just yet.
"That guy had a chance, and he let Darren Till go out and take his whopping for him," Woodley said. "He tried to pause and wait for a bigger pay-per-view because his eyes got big. I'm going to fight anybody. I'm the best in the world. Anybody they put in front of me is going to get beat up. If it's Colby Covington, if it's [Kamaru] Usman, it's Robert Whittaker, if it's whoever they want me to fight, we're going to do it.
"I don't believe [Covington] deserves my platform right now. He had the chance to be here, and he b----ed out."
Woodley's win over Till once again showed why he is statistically the toughest fighter in UFC history to take down. Entering Saturday's fight, Woodley had stuffed 41 of 42 takedown attempts in his UFC career. He was dominant again Saturday, and Till was credited with landing just two strikes the entire fight.
While Woodley's past couple of fights caused many, including White, to criticize his fighting style, five of Woodley's first eight UFC fights ended by KO or TKO, with Woodley winning all of them.
Till, meanwhile, will have to wait to join Michael Bisping as the second English UFC champion. The question now is whether he chases that title as a welterweight or a middleweight. While he wasn't sure what would be next for him, Till expressed confidence that his first professional loss would be nothing more than a bump in the road in his career.
"I'm still going to be the greatest," Till said. "I know that. All the greats have lost. This is my first loss."
As Woodley celebrated his win Saturday night with his family, he seemed anxious to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible, even if that means headlining UFC 230, which currently does not have a main event for its Nov. 3 date at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"I think I can fight in November," Woodley said. "I'm here to stay. It's the Woodley weight division. I'm excited to be back. If [Nov. 3] is the date they're looking for a main event, I think they got their guy."