UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley suffered the first defeat of his career a little less than a year ago and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. As fans likely remember, Woodley was knocked out cold by Nate Marquardt in a championship clash under the Strikeforce banner. Though the 31-year old has since moved on from the disappointing result, he still carries the lessons he learned from the loss with him.

Woodley spoke about the role the stumble has played in his life during a recent interview with the UFC’s website, explaining his 36-second knockout of Jay Hieron earlier this year was an indicator of what’s to come in the future.

“I was thinking I’m going to be a world champion, and even in that fight when I dropped him, I was like, `I’m the champ! I’m the champ!’ I did stuff in that fight that I’ve never done before and that I tell my fighters not to do,” said Woodley of his performance against Marquardt, explaining, “Having those things happen, for me, it put me in a different spot. I’m not protecting anything like an undefeated record or not getting knocked out or losing in a world title fight. The worst that could happen has happened. For me, the weight is off, and now I can be the amazing athlete God created me to be, and I’m going to do that from now on.”

As such, Woodley expects his bout this weekend with Jake Shields at UFC 161 to play out similarly to his February fight with Hieron.

“This is a terrible match-up for Jake Shields. He can fool himself all he wants – act like he’s going to knock somebody out, and act like he likes this fight. He didn’t like this fight. Cesar Gracie didn’t like this fight, because I don’t match up well with him,” stated the confident competitor. “I’m compact and explosive. I’ve got great wrestling. I’ve got good takedown defense, and I’m a good grappler. I punch as hard as the top guys in the division. With all those things together, if I can keep him out of his element, I win the fight.”

The 11-1 Woodley owns past victories over Jordan Mein, Paul Daley, and Tarec Saffiedine. Fans can catch his clash with Shields on the FX portion of the UFC 161 prelims.