According to the former UFC welterweight champion, he’s in talks with the UFC currently to finalize a date and location to face off with his former teammate after they were previously offered a main event slot in August.
“Looks like I’m going to be fighting Colby Covington,” Woodley told retired UFC veteran Mike Swick on his podcast. “The date, we’re waiting on right now. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be a main event. Main event ESPN+ me versus Colby.
“We’re getting real close on a date. September/October. It’s going down for sure.”
Sources close to Covington told MMA Fighting that a deal to face Woodley hadn’t been finalized but that certainly seems like a matchup everyone wants to see happen.
Over the past few years, Woodley and Covington have engaged in one of the most heated rivalries in the entire sport.
They previously worked together as training partners at American Top Team but once Covington started inching closer to title contention, he began targeting Woodley as a future opponent. From there the disdain shared between the fighters began spiraling out of control but still Covington and Woodley never got the chance to actually square off inside the octagon.
After several attempts to book the fight failed in the past, the UFC made an effort to book Woodley against Covington in the main event at the upcoming card on Aug. 22. Unfortunately, Woodley wasn’t ready to compete yet after his five-round loss to Gilbert Burns in late May.
Now it appears Woodley is preparing for a late summer or early fall date against Covington with a lot on the line when it comes to his career.
“This is a big fight for me,” Woodley said. “This is probably the biggest fight of my career to be honest. Because the situation, it’s bragging rights. He’s talked all this sh*t, but in my mind, he really knows what time it is but now because he has talked that much sh*t, he’s got to try to live up to it. He’s got to try to beat me. He’s been calling me out for three or four years damn near. So now it’s to the point where it’s personal and the other fights didn’t really mean as much.
“I feel like [Kamaru] Usman and Gilbert are kind of goofy and I really didn’t feel no animosity towards them. But I feel that with Colby. Some of the other guys I felt the urgency because of how good they were, Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler, those guys are the OG’s. “The Natural Born Killer,” “Ruthless,” “Gorilla” [Darren Till], all these monstrous fighters that I got to bring it to them cause they sure as f**k going to bring it to me. I think Colby’s going to bring me that, the first time I get the opponent at the press conference, we probably just going to break the internet to be honest.”
Following back-to-back losses to Usman and Burns, it’s not lost on Woodley just how much he needs to beat Covington regardless of his personal feelings towards the former interim welterweight champion.
On the flipside, Woodley understands that a win over the always outspoken Covington could serve as a dramatic step forward to move past those defeats as he looks to climb back into title contention.
“There’s enough people that want me to hurt him so bad that if I do it, now I’m a hero,” Woodley said. “We’re not even talking about losing two fights in a row. We’re talking about the kid that finally took care of Colby Covington.
“Usman really didn’t take care of him. He won but had he not dropped him twice, Usman probably would have lost that fight.”
Of course, Woodley anticipates a contentious build up to the fight with Covington regardless of the current circumstances that don’t allow for the typical pre-fight hype to build due to restrictions that prevent events like press conferences to happen with fans in attendance.
He knows Covington is going to throw everything at him before they actually meet in the cage, and while it gets annoying sometimes to respond to the same accusations over and over again, Woodley is ready for war because the final battle will be fought for real this time.
“He’s gonna try to use everything in mental warfare,” Woodley said. “He’s going to try to be racist, he’s going to try to talk about stuff from my personal life, he’s gonna bluff and make up sh*t about the gym. He’s going to ask all these daggone questions cause he was in St. Louis with me so anything he can turn into something he’s going to do that.
“Guess what? I’m going to match him and make him look stupid.”