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Morning Report: Tyron Woodley questions interim title, says he would have fought Rafael Dos Anjos in July

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Earlier this week, the UFC officially announced that former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos would be taking on outspoken welterweight contender Colby Covington at UFC 224 for the interim welterweight championship. It’s a fight that has been in the works for a while now but the interim belt being on the line is slightly puzzling as undisputed welterweight champion Tyron Woodley fought as recently as last July but “The Chosen One” isn’t letting that get to him.

Speaking with MMA Tonight on SiriusXM Rush, Woodley addressed the recently announced fight, saying that he wasn’t bothered by the creation on the interim title because everyone knows who the real champion is and it’s not the person walking around with the “boo boo belt.” In fact, Woodley said he would make fun of either fighter if they tried to treat the interim title as the real belt.

“I’ve just got to focus on myself,” said Woodley. “We know what the interim title means. That’s the ‘boo boo belt,’ that’s not the real deal. I’m the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. I put the belt up three times. In 12 months, I fought four world title fights. Name me another fighter that’s done that. I can say whatever I want and I can solicit for fights that help my career and legacy but I’m the only one that’s really actually fought the number one contenders.

“I try not to get too bent out of shape because I know what the interim belt means. If someone wins it and fights for it and hoards it around and really walks around like it’s a real belt, I’m gonna make fun of you. I’m gonna roast your ass. So hopefully if they do that. The person better not try to stand next to me with that belt and think I’m gonna take it serious.”

Woodley won the title at UFC 201 in 2016 with a sensational first-round knockout of Robbie Lawler. He then defended the belt three times over the next 12 months, the last of which came against Demian Maia at UFC 214. Since then Woodley has been dealing with an injury while tacitly pursuing money fights against Georges St-Pierre and Nate Diaz though Woodley says he has now given up hope that a St-Pierre fight will materialize. Instead, the champion is targeting a late summer return to fighting, and was planning on defending the belt against dos Anjos before dos Anjos accepted the fight with Covington, a choice Woodley thinks was too risky given the possibility of losing out on a title shot like Frankie Edgar recently did when he accepted a short-notice fight against Brian Ortega.

“They already got me to fight the winner, they don’t need that belt,” said Woodley. “If I was dos Anjos, he’s taking a risk he doesn’t have to take. If he just wants to fight and stay active and keep going, that’s his prerogative but we’ve seen what happened to Frankie Edgar. Frankie Edgar had a clear shot at Max Holloway, he did the T-City [Ortega] thing, it didn’t work out quite right and now he got jumped.

“I told the UFC that I would be willing to fight him in July. They wanted me to fight him in June but June and having surgery on Dec. 20th seemed fairly quick. It usually takes six to eight months to recover. I’m pushing it up four to six months to recover.”

Woodley suffered a partial tear to his labrum in his title defense against Maia and attempted to work through the issue without surgery. Eventually he opted to have the procedure done and has been in recovery since, though he says he has just now returned to sparring and is anxious to return. This has already been the second-longest layoff of Woodley’s professional career and, at 35 years old, the clock is ticking for Woodley to cement his legacy as an all-time great. Fortunately for him, the winner of dos Anjos-Covington will be a clear-cut number one contender for the title and another great name to put on his resume should he be able to defend his title again, something he plans on doing with authority.

“If you think that I don’t want to fight, I make money fighting,” said Woodley. “This is what I do. When I’m fighting and I’m consistent, that’s when I’m at my best. So I’m just trying to have no emotion towards it. It is what it is. If the UFC decides that’s what they want to do, it’s their business, and if they feel like that’s the best thing for the situation, then that’s their call but we all know who the real welterweight champion is and whoever I fight next is just gonna have to get their ass whooped.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Chaos. Conor McGregor, crew allegedly cause chaotic scene after UFC 223 media day.

UFC. UFC releases statement concerning Conor McGregor’s actions at Barclays Center.

Hard. Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts to Conor McGregor’s bus attack: ‘I am laughing.’

One. Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis pulled from UFC 223 after McGregor incident.

Two. Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno pulled from UFC 223 after McGregor incident.

Rematch. T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt 2 slated for UFC 227 in Los Angeles.

Phil Brooks. CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson official for UFC 225.


VIDEO STEW

Embedded.

BTS before everything went haywire.

Fighters watching bare-knuckle boxing.

Conor is all over TMZ today.

TTTHS.

Parillo interview covering a lot of different topics.


LISTEN UP

The MMA Beat. Discussing today’s happenings and UFC 223.

Roundtable. Breaking down all the fights, even the cancelled ones, for UFC 223.

Reaction. Luke Thomas reacts to the absurdity of today.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

The Tweet before all hell broke loose.

MMA, sport of the future.

Of course Nate was gonna chime in.

Paulie going for the throat.

Angie really had a good social media day.

Don’t hurt ‘em Stipe.

DO IT!

I mean, if kids can’t look up to cage fighters, who can they have as heroes?

Conor better go buy a boomerang ASAP.

That face when you know your Red Panty Night has slipped out of your grasp forever.

This situation really does suck for all those fighters who did nothing wrong.

A more innocent time.

A lot of this sentiment out there after yesterday.

Or, this one.

DC is a hero.

Mike Swick with an interesting take on how the UFC operates.

Business, man.

And Jim Miller from the rafters!

This can’t be a coincidence.

Mike Jackson’s big news got seriously overshadowed by Conor’s antics.

Also overshadowed but this is a pretty big deal for Project Spearhead.

Would be a great fight.

Rose getting the love from Killer Mike.

Chris Pratt giving love to the Nog brothers.

MMA has to have the highest number of insane tangential “sports” attached to it of any athletic endeavor.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Molly McCann (7-1) vs. Gillian Robertson (4-2); UFC Liverpool, May 27.

Nathaniel Wood (13-3) vs. Johnny Eduardo (28-11); UFC Utica, June 1.

C.M. Punk (0-1) vs. Mike Jackson (0-1); UFC 225, June 9.

T.J. Dillashaw (15-3) vs. Cody Garbrandt (11-1); UFC 227, Aug. 4.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2006: Stephan Bonnar won a unanimous decision over Keith Jardine at UFC Fight Night 4. This event also saw Chael Sonnen get his first octagon victory, taking a decision victory over Trevor Prangley.

2012: Ben Askren successfully defended his Bellator welterweight champion by taking a unanimous decision victory over Douglas Lima at Bellator 64.

2013: Gegard Mousasi made his UFC debut, defeating fellow debutante Ilir Latifi in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 9. You also may recall this as the day Conor McGregor made his UFC debut with a win over Marcus Brimage.


FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s a world in which Conor’s alleged dolly throw causes cuts to Rose and Khabib, sending them in for stitches and keeping them from fighting tomorrow. This stuff is seriously insane.

If Khabib blows weight tomorrow, this has suddenly become the most absurd UFC PPV ever.

Enjoy the fights this weekend and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who wins the UFC lightweight title tomorrow night?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Khabib
    (293 votes)
  • 8%
    Max
    (109 votes)
  • 68%
    HAHAHAHAHA. Come on man, you know something is gonna happen to kill this fight in the next 36 hours.
    (866 votes)
1268 votes total Vote Now

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