Tyron Woodley’s next fight could be a make-or-break opportunity.
The former UFC welterweight champion is coming off of consecutive losses for the first time in his career, and not just any losses. At UFC 235 in March of last year, Woodley lost his title to Kamaru Usman after being dominated for five rounds. Fifteen months later, he fought Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC on ESPN 9 and again failed to muster up much offense en route to dropping another unanimous decision.
The lackluster performances left some questioning how much Woodley—who turned 38 in April—has left in the tank. He is currently No. 5 in the UFC’s official rankings and he has another high-profile fight lined up for Sept. 19 when he finally faces off with longtime rival Colby Covington.
Woodley addressed concerns about his lack of aggression in his recent fights during a fan Q&A on Instagram, when one viewer suggested, “PLEASE LET YOUR HANDZ GO.”
“I agree with you. I will let my hands go,” Woodley said. “You fans that are telling me, ‘Let your hands go, let your hands go,’ I need to let them go… I agree with you and you have that, you’ve got my word.”
During his time as welterweight champion, Woodley was not known as a knockout artist. However, he punched out Robbie Lawler to win the title four years ago and also showed flashes of his power in a pair of fights with striking specialist Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
The rivalry between Woodley and Covington is deeply personal and has festered for years, so taking that into consideration, “The Chosen One” joked that he might start punching lower than expected just to make things interesting.
“I’m a let these hands go,” Woodley said. “I’m a let ‘em go upside his head, body, I might even punch him in the sack for the warning. Bow! I’ll take the warning or even the point deduction.”