On Saturday night, Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington will face each other for the UFC interim welterweight title, and ostensibly, the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s undisputed championship. That might be tricky for the winner though as Woodley is finally recovered from his shoulder injury and looking to get back into the cage in early August. He’s not all that concerned if the new interim champ won’t be ready for such a quick turnaround.
Speaking with MMAJunkie Radio recently, “The Chosen One” outlined his plans for returning to the cage, saying that as the champion he gets to decide when he fights and it’s on the challengers to bend to his will or risk losing their crack at the belt.
“I’m projected to be back August 4. That’s when I want to fight. I want to fight in L.A,” Woodley said. “I’m not really concerned with who’s ready, who’s next. You’ve got to realize, there are certain rights you deserve as a champion. When I’m ready to fight, now it’s time to fight. Whoever they got for me to fight at this time, come get this work. I don’t want to sit back and say, ‘Oh, I want to sit and wait to see what happens with this fight.’ I’m the champion. I want to fight.”
Woodley was incredibly active during his first year as champion, defending the belt three times after winning it. But in his fight with Demian Maia at UFC 217, Woodley tore his labrum and has since been struggling to recover from the injury. While he’s been sidelined, the welterweight division has become backlogged with new challengers clamoring for a shot at the title. Now that he’s ready to return though, Woodley says he’s doesn’t particularly care who it’s against, even if it isn’t against one of the legitimate challengers.
“Some of these bouts should’ve taken place anyway, maybe not with the label of interim title, but I think at that point, you make a fight, even if it’s somebody that’s not currently in the division,” Woodley said. “Maybe it’s a Diaz brother - well, obviously maybe not Nick because I think he’s in a little trouble - maybe it’s Nate [Diaz], maybe it’s Georges [St-Pierre], maybe it’s somebody else; but I’m also willing to fight all these other guys.”
There’s certainly no shortage of possible contenders at 170 pounds for Woodley but even so, the welterweight champ also has eyes on bigger game. Woodley wants to cement his status as the best welterweight ever by cleaning out the division and then, like Georges St-Pierre before him, he wants to jump up and win the middleweight title as well. Woodley does plan to do something GSP never did though, defend the 185-pound title.
“I kind of want to legitimately clean the division,” Woodley said. “I wouldn’t mind fighting RDA [Rafael dos Anjos], Colby [Covington], [Kamaru] Usman, [Darren] Till, and at that point, unless another prospect emerges, I’ve cleaned out the division and I’m the greatest welterweight of all time at that point. Then it’s time to go up to 185 [pounds], and I want that belt and I want to defend.
“I don’t want to just go up there and get two belts to say I got it. I want to finish off my division. When it’s all said and done, I did everything I could do there. I want to go up and challenge myself once again, and I want to try to win the belt at 185 and defend there and pretty much retire as a middleweight.”
Recap. Tyler Diamond won on the latest episode of TUF 27.
Title. Colby Covington plans on handing interim title to President Trump at White House after UFC 225.
KO of the Week.
Shannon Sharpe joining the UFC Tonight crew.
Urijah Faber asking the question we all want to know.
An old tribute to Kimbo who passed two years ago yesterday.
Heavy Hands. Breaking down the big fights coming up at UFC 225.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Unclear if Gaethje has ever seen how the UFC does things.
I would be disappointed in the organization I fight for if they change weigh ins without any consideration of their athletes opinion on the matter.— Justin Gaethje (@Justin_Gaethje) June 6, 2018
Lot of people upset.
Who is advising Dana? Fighters? This is the type of problem that “experts” are not experts in until you’ve done it multiple times. Fighters are the experts and should be the ones advising and mainly fighters that have been through both early and late weigh ins https://t.co/2P2I6broya— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) June 6, 2018
I think he is trying to say- Hey @danawhite , even though it may not be best for your bottom line ( )... early weigh ins are better for fighters health. A few unprofessional fighters may fuck up events but us professionals realize it’s in our best interests. https://t.co/FOPi0qgUE5— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) June 6, 2018
And ideas to improve.
A lot of talk about the weight cutting issues in our sport on twitter and I see a lot of ideas tossed out there can anyone give me a reason why @ufc should not implement the system ONE FC uses?— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) June 6, 2018
That’s the solution to this whole problem.— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) June 7, 2018
Just fight again.
Tommy Toe Hold.
Great news!! My fight has been rebooked for July 14th! I’m so happy and extremely thankful. I’d like to send out a HUGE GRACIAS to my team (my ♥️, coaches, sparring partner, friends and family), for all their help, support, love and for riding with me on this rollercoaster. THANK YOU to my management @firstroundmgmt for handling business as always, to Jodi for agreeing to rebook this fight, to everyone who’s sent love my way, to all the media for helping me share my story and last, but not least THANKS SO MUCH @mickmaynard2 & @ufc for making this a quick turn around. . . . . . . #HappyWednesday #LifeIsGood #Grateful #LetsDoThis #SmileandBelieve ¡¡Una gran noticia!! ¡Mi pelea ha sido reservada para el 14 de julio! Estoy tan feliz y extremadamente agradecido. Me gustaría enviar GRACIAS GRANDES a mi equipo (mis ♥ ️, entrenadores, compañeros de entrenamiento, amigos y familiares), por toda su ayuda, apoyo, amor y por acompañarme en esta montaña rusa. MUCHAS GRACIAS a mi gestión @firstroundmgmt por manejar negocios como siempre, a Jodi por aceptar volver a reservar esta pelea, a todos los que me han enviado el amor, a todos los medios por ayudarme a compartir mi historia y por último, pero no menos GRACIAS TANTO @ mickmaynard2 y @ufc por hacer de esto una vuelta rápida.
Ngannou on the mitts.
Jingnan Xiong (11-1) vs. Laura Balin (10-2); ONE Championship, June 23.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2009: Mike Thomas Brown successfully defended his WEC featherweight title, winning a unanimous decision in his rematch with Urijah Faber at WEC 41. In the co-main event that evening, Jose Aldo cemented himself as the number one contender with an eight second flying knee knockout of Cub Swanson.
2014: Rafael dos Anjos began his career defining run, stopping Jason High at UFC Fight Night 42 and starting his path towards claiming the UFC lightweight title.
Y’all notice Woodley didn’t even mention Ponzinibbio in his list of future opponents? Is it time to start asking why T-Wood is ducking the Ponz? Something to think about.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins the interim title this weekend?
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