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Morning Report: Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman bicker over next UFC welterweight title fight

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Tyron Woodley (MMAF, EL)

For most of the year, it looked like Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington were on a collision course for Woodley’s welterweight title, and when Covington won an interim title with a unanimous decision over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225, a title fight with “The Chosen One” seemed all but assured. But then Covington had to nurse some injuries sustained in his win over dos Anjos and was unable to compete on the UFC’s timeline, so instead, Woodley defended his title against Darren Till, submitting the Englishman at UFC 228.

The win once again seemed to set up the inevitable clash between Woodley and Covington but Woodley has been recovering from hand surgery, and despite repeatedly saying he wanted to face Covington early next year, the UFC has yet to book the long-awaited title fight. Instead, UFC President Dana White has suggested that Woodley is unwilling to defend his title and that they may have to move on from Woodley, despite the champ having just defended his belt in September.

But despite White’s strong-arming, Woodley seems insistent on fighting Covington next and over the holiday, took aim at Covington for refusing to step in the cage with him.

Covington was quick to respond, saying that the UFC has never offered him a fight with Woodley, and that if Woodley agrees to fight Kamaru Usman instead of him, he is being a company “yes man” and “taking the easy way out”.

Usman is far from an easy out for Woodley. Currently the second-ranked welterweight, Usman is also coming off a unanimous decision win over Rafael dos Anjos, and is currently riding a 13-fight winning streak, 9 of which were in the UFC. Ordinarily, that type of resume would put Usman front of the line for a title shot, but Covington has made a name for himself in recent years with controversial trash talk and big wins. He also had an interim title, but when he passed on the Woodley fight in September due to injury, the UFC stripped him of that belt, and that’s something Woodley takes as proof that “Chaos” doesn’t really want that smoke.

Never one to let someone else have the last word, Covington responded by doubling down on his “company man” barb, and then mocking Woodley for being unable to make any fight he has sought happen.

Covington actually has a point. During his reign, Woodley has sought fights with Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, and Michael Bisping but has never even come close to having them happen. Unfortunately for Covington, the fight Woodley wants now is him and all signs are pointing to Woodley going 0 for 5 on wishlist fights. After Usman beat dos Anjos, Dana White said that he wanted to see “The Nigerian Nightmare” take on Woodley next, and earlier this week, the UFC President declared that Usman would be fighting for the welterweight belt at UFC 235, with or without Woodley.

And Usman says that’s how it should be. After all, Covington turned down a fight with Woodley in the fall and, according to Usman, has turned down a bout with him on five separate occasions.

Woodley only recently received doctor’s clearance to return to full training there will likely be an answer to all of this soon. Time is running short though as UFC 235 takes place on March 2.


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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2008: Rashad Evans stopped Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 to claim the light heavyweight title. In the co-main event, Frank Mir became the first man to stop Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, claiming the UFC interim heavyweight title. Also on this card, Quinton Jackson got his revenge, knocking out Wanderlei Silva in their third fight.


FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s been a long time. How have y’all been? I hope your holiday was excellent and that none of you are among the unfortunate masses that were planning to attend UFC 232 only to have it ripped away at the last minute. If you do count yourselves among that number, you have my most sincere condolences. But hey, look at the bright side, at least Dana isn’t planning on taking your title away from you because he doesn’t like you, despite you having defended your belt just three months ago.

Anyway, as always, thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who should get the next title shot?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Covington
    (1215 votes)
  • 30%
    Usman
    (545 votes)
1760 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it! Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, and like us on Facebook!

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