For the vast majority of 2018, it seemed like UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley would have faced controversial contender Colby Covington at some point in the year. The fight seemed all but certain when Covington defeated Rafael Dos Anjos to win the interim welterweight title. However, in the bout, Covington picked up some injuries that would render him unable to compete in accordance to the UFC’s timeline.
This resulted in England’s Darren “The Gorilla” Till being rewarded with a shot at Woodley at UFC 228. The contest ended in the second round with Tyron Woodley defeating Darren Till via submission.
With another contender dealt with, it seemed likely again that the only fight to be made at 170lbs was the grudge match between Woodley and Covington. Again, injury would not allow this to happen with Woodley requiring hand surgery. The welterweight champion has publicly stated that he wants to take on Covington in early 2019, but the UFC have not booked the contest. Instead, UFC President Dana White, who infamously seems to have something against Tyron Woodley, stated that Woodley never wants to fight and defend his title, and even went as far as to say that the division may have to move on from Woodley, claiming that the champ never wants to fight.
When asked by Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting who he thought was responsible for the hold up for the 170lbs division, Dana White said:
“Woodley. When is Woodley ready to fight anybody ever?”
Speaking on the Woodley/Till contest, Dana White said that UFC had some troubles putting that fight together too, saying:
“It took us forever to get him to that fight. Guy never wants to fight. You want to be a world champion, but you don’t want to fight anybody. That’s a problem.”
The UFC hoped to have Woodley compete at UFC 233 on January 26 in Anaheim, California, but Woodley’s thumb injury wouldn’t let him do so. However, Dana White does not care much for the injury to Woodley’s thumb.
“You have to understand. I know guys like Conor McGregor, I know all the guys behind the scenes. Don’t you guys remember the thing when Conor McGregor said ‘Who needs a thumb? You don’t even need a thumb to fight’ Conor fought with so many injuries that it’s ridiculous. Even times that Conor doesn’t say it publicly.”
More recently, Dana White has come out and stated that Kamaru Usman, who is also coming off of a more recent win against Rafael Dos Anjos, will be fighting for the welterweight title with or without Tyron Woodley.
Usman took to Twitter to show his followers that he had indeed received a bout agreement for the contest.
Hope the hand is ready champ @TWooodley the @ufc bout agreement has been signed and I’ll see you soon ???????????????????????? #AndNew #NigerianNightmare #GoTime @AliAbdelaziz00 @danawhite @seanshelby @Mickmaynard2 pic.twitter.com/3cP1V1whQr
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) December 12, 2018
Dana White stated that the only thing that was not completely accurate is the part identifying Tyron Woodley as the opponent. White sent MMAJunkie.com a text message saying:
“That fight is happening or Usman vs. Someone for the title”
Despite Dana White’s nay-saying. Woodley is adamant that Covington will be the next man who stands across the octagon from him.
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 26, 2018
Covington fired back quick. Telling Woodley and his followers that the UFC hadn’t offered him a title shot against Woodley. Also stating that if Woodley agrees to take on Usman, he is being a “yes man” and “taking the easy way out”.
Stop lying @TWooodley. You know @ufc never sent me anything. If they did, Id sign it live on @TMZ before the ink went dry dummy. Tell the truth. You have no power and you’re being a yes man… AGAIN. Go ahead and take the easy way out. Unlike you Im a man of my word. pic.twitter.com/nh4qh2K9Pe
— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) December 26, 2018
Covington had a chance to take on Woodley in September but was unable to do so due to surgery on his sinuses, as a result, Covington was stripped of his interim title. This is something that Tyron Woodley sees as evidence that Covington doesn’t really want to face him.
You are a bitch! You were suppose to fight me in Sept and let Till nearly get killed. You are the easy way out. And talked all that shit and bitching out. Quit trying to call shots I’m the king. Go kiss the boss’ ass so I can kick your ass and retired the non sense. https://t.co/abId2BQ13n
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 26, 2018
In typical Colby fashion, of course he would need to have the last word. His response doubled down on his claim that Woodley was a UFC “yes man” and mocked the champ for being unable to ever get the fight he actually wants.
Last shot I called got me to the White House. What shots have you ever called junior? GSP? Nate? Nick? Bisping? Nope. You don't call shit. You love to cry a river to the media. But the moment @ufc says jump, you say how high! You're no King @twooodley. You're just a Cuck. pic.twitter.com/gtmR2rcpBr
— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) December 27, 2018
With this, Covington may actually have a point. During Woodley’s time as welterweight champion, he has called for fights with Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz and Michael Bisping, but none of these fights have ever actually come close to materialising.
Kamaru Usman got himself involved, stating that he agrees with Dana White’s opinion that he is actually more deserving of a title shot than Colby, tweeting:
Shut your bi&ch a$$ Up coward. You ran from me 5 different times and counting… #UFC228 was your shot and your bi&ch a$$ ran from that. Now go sit the F&ck down and watch grown men work ????????@danawhite @AliAbdelaziz00 @seanshelby https://t.co/DZTfYKYOLH
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) December 27, 2018
Woodley just recently received doctor’s clearance to get back into full training, so this whole welterweight mess will surely be sorted out soon. However, time is ticking, and UFC 235 goes down on March 2nd, so a resolution needs to come soon.