Woodley is top of the pile at 170lbs but says he's "the worst treated champion in the UFC"
Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley says the UFC have thrown more promotion behind challenger Stephen Thompson despite the fact that he is top of the pile at 170lbs.
He added that "Wonderboy's" decision to carry the American flag made it look as though Woodley was "from another country".
Woodley says he has not gotten the respect he deserves and that his race has played a role in that.
In an interview with ESPN, Woodley sat alongside Stephen Thompson - who he faces in a welterweight championship bout rematch on March 4th - and said the challenger, rather than he the champion, was promoted ahead of their fight at UFC 205.
"Going into this fight I feel like Wonderboy was promoted like he was the champion," he said. "I'm the champion. I knocked out the baddest welterweight in the world in record-breaking time. I don't get the respect I deserve.
"With that said, don't have him walk out with the American flag like I'm from a different country. Don't have him paraded around, don't have everything revolved around him."
Thompson clarified that the reason he carried the flag was to honour the American wounded veterans who return from conflict zones around the world.
Woodley continued: "People don't like to hear it but it's the culture of our sport. We're dealing with a different set of rules. People in the UFC go through genres of people they like to fight. This is the genre, they want to see a clean-cut guy [like Thompson] doing a razzle-dazzle super flashy fight. Before that, it was guys who would fight to the death.
"People say it's race in sport. As soon as I bring up race in sport I'm immediately race-baiting. But I can point out other facts that show no other champion has been treated like me... If I was a different complexion, I think people and fans would treat me a different way."
The 34-year-old pointed out that the best pound-for-pound currently active in the UFC - flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson - has not had the chance to promote himself as the biggest name in the company or secure lucrative sponsorship for the same reason.
He added: "I'm by far the worst treated champion in the history of the UFC. Blatantly facts."