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Morning Report: Tyron Woodley planning move to 185 this year: ‘People at middleweight need to watch out’

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UFC 205 Weigh-in Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 235 in March, Tyron Woodley will return to the cage to defend his welterweight title, not against the man who he as been publicly playing the dozens with for the last year, Colby Covington, but against second-ranked contender Kamaru Usman. It will be Woodley’s fifth consecutive title defense, the most of any active champion, and it also may be one of his last.

On the Ariel Helwani MMA Show, the welterweight champion revealed that his plans for 2019 include title defenses against Usman and Covington, and then possibly a jump up to middleweight to chase a second title.

“Those aren’t my decisions to make,” Woodley said about the order of his title defenses. “I’m just the welterweight champion of the world so when somebody steps up and thinks they want it, I’ve got to put them down. So Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, and whoever else, this year I’ve got to fight those guys, this is just the order the UFC wanted to do it. . .

“People at middleweight, they need to watch out too. I might slide on one of y’all by the end of the year.”

A move to middleweight could be highly productive for Woodley, after all, the two men poised to fight for the title next are both former welterweights. Kelvin Gastelum had a successful run at 170 pounds, when he could make the weight, and current champion Robert Whittaker began his career winning the welterweight tournament on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes. In fact, Whittaker’s last loss was to the man Woodley mauled twice over, Stephen Thompson, and Woodley already owns a win over Gastelum in a bout the King’s MMA product missed weight by 10 pounds for. Whittaker and Gastelum face each other at UFC 234 for “Bobby Knuckles’” 185-pound title, and with no crystal clear contender lined up, Woodley thinks he could fit in nicely.

“Why not?” asked Woodley. “What better year? Wipe out the division clean, welterweight, and go up there and either beat ‘Fatsum’ up again or take out Robert Whittaker. They’re both welterweights anyway, they just don’t know how to cut weight.”

Of course, Woodley has been seeking big opportunities like this since winning the title at UFC 201, but they have, so far, eluded him. At various points in time, Woodley has called for fights with Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, and Michael Bisping, all without success. But if he can defend his welterweight title two more times this year, Woodley believes that the UFC may finally have to give him his due and he may finally break through as the superstar he believes himself to be.

“At the end of the day, what is the fight for?” Woodley said. “Do you want me to fight more? I want to fight more. Do you want me to become this superstar? I am a superstar. I just need the push it, I need the machine to get behind me a little bit more, and from the conversations I had, I believe that’s going to happen this year. Whooping up Usman, whooping up Colby, and then finishing out with one more fight at the end of the year, I think that’s gonna be a great year for me. It’ll be the first time I’m up for Fighter of the Year, so that’s what I’m excited about.”


MUST-READ STORIES

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Goals. Jiu-jitsu ace Gordon Ryan says ‘ultimate goal’ is to be ‘best in MMA’


VIDEO STEW

The MMA Hour with Henry Cejudo, Gordon Ryan, and Gregor Gillespie.

T.J.’s media lunch scrum.

Free fight.

BTS with Cejudo.

Jon Jones’ PPV numbers vs. DC’s PPV numbers, a solid look into Dana’s mind.


LISTEN UP

Eurobash. Looking at the first event for the UFC’s new broadcast deal with ESPN.

The Co-Main Event. Interviews with Leon Edwards, Aleksandar Rakic, and Soren Bak.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

It was settled in less than 5 minutes.

Backyards, boatyards, any kind of yard, Jorge doesn’t care.

Very science-y.

Amanda not gonna revisit featherweight?

Harsh.

Call out.

Cowboy on his legacy.

View this post on Instagram

Only way I know

A post shared by Donald Cerrone (@cowboycerrone) on

Shockingly accurate.

TJ has a shoe.

Jon is an odd duck.

Elite comment.

Solid memeing.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kyle Stewart (11-1) vs. Chance Rencountre (12-3); UFC Brooklyn, Jan. 19.

A.J. Agazarm (0-0) vs. Jesse Roberts (0-0); Bellator 214, Jan. 26.

Soren Bak (12-1) vs. Dean Trueman (10-4); Cage Warriors 103, March 9.

Nicolas Dalby (16-3-1) vs. Alex Lohore (17-3); Cage Warriors 103, March 9.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2017: B.J. Penn returned from his retirement to face Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night Phoenix. Rodriguez destroyed Penn in 5 and a half minutes.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I know UFC rankings are mostly butt, but Woodley being at #6 P4P is wild. He’s champ over the second best division, and has beat an incredible list of fighters. He should be behind Cormier and Jones. And maaaaaybe Khabib.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

How will Woodley do at 185?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Not well
    (383 votes)
  • 58%
    Very well
    (1055 votes)
  • 19%
    Future champ
    (352 votes)
1790 votes total Vote Now

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