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Morning Report: Tyron Woodley wants to clean out welterweight division, then go after middleweight title

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

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.

McGregor. Conor McGregor confirms he was supposed to fight at UFC 224.

Knux. Robert Whittaker says title of champion actually ‘doesn’t mean anything’ to him.

Phil. CM Punk talks winning WWE lawsuit, UFC 225, and possible return to wrestling.

Title. Colby Covington plans on handing interim title to President Trump at White House after UFC 225.


Embedded 3.

KO of the Week.

Shannon Sharpe joining the UFC Tonight crew.

Urijah Faber asking the question we all want to know.

The Reem.

An old tribute to Kimbo who passed two years ago yesterday.


Heavy Hands. Breaking down the big fights coming up at UFC 225.

Three Amigos. Guest host Mike Jackson joins to discuss UFC 225.


Unclear if Gaethje has ever seen how the UFC does things.

Lot of people upset.

And ideas to improve.

Just fight again.

Tommy Toe Hold.


Ngannou on the mitts.

One more month to go until #UFC226 . Morning session with @bigwoodmma702 .

A post shared by Francis Ngannou (@francisngannou) on


Jingnan Xiong (11-1) vs. Laura Balin (10-2); ONE Championship, June 23.

Adriano Moraes (17-2) vs. Geje Eustaquio (10-6); ONE Championship, June 23.

Jessica Aguilar (19-6) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3); UFC Idaho, July 14.


2008: Thiago Alves knocked out Matt Hughes at UFC 85.

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.



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