Tyron Woodley
The Chosen One
Planning move up to middleweight
January 14, 2019
Woodley intends to move up to middleweight by the end of 2019, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN sports reports.
Woodley feels that his work as a welterweight will be done if he can defend his title against Kamaru Usman (scheduled for March 2 at UFC 235) and eventually against Colby Covington. It's a reasonable position for a fighter who has already defended his title four times. If he's successful on a fifth and potentially sixth defense, he'll have his sights set on Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum at the top of the middleweight field.
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To defend title at UFC 235
January 6, 2019
Woodley (hand) will defend his title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 on March 2, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Woodley was initially expected to take on Colby Covington in his fifth title defense, but Covington's inactivity since winning the interim title in June apparently did not sit well with UFC brass. In steps Usman, who picked up his third victory in 2018 with a November win over Rafael dos Anjos, winning Performance of the Night honors along the way. Woodley and Covington will almost certainly face off at some point down the road, but for now, the 170-pound champion will set his sights on Usman. Woodley will give up a few inches in both height and reach to Usman, who is five years younger. Usman has thrived to date by getting takedowns at will -- he recorded an astonishing 12 in the RDA fight -- but Woodley and his 94 percent takedown defense will be an entirely different challenge. Woodley last defended his title against Darren Till in September, and has been on the sidelines since due to hand surgery. He'll have been on the shelf for nearly six months by the time he takes the cage.
Details return timetable
December 10, 2018
While appearing as a guest on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, Woodley (hand) disclosed that he has agreed to fight Colby Covington, and will be available for that fight in the first quarter of 2019.
Woodley couldn't quite commit to UFC 233 on Jan. 26, as he wants to have his injured hand cleared by a doctor before beginning to promote the fight. Interim champion Colby Covington mentioned during an interview earlier Monday that he hasn't ruled out fighting at UFC 233, but it's unclear if Woodley will be ready at that time. Woodley disclosed that he wants his hand to be 100 percent before accepting a fight against top contenders in Covington or Kamaru Usman, as he believes he has an advantage in the stand-up game over both, and both will attempt to grapple with him. The fight to make at this time is clearly against Covington, but it's unclear how long UFC President Dana White will be patient with his 170-pound champion, as White has already alluded to the possibility of stripping the belt. Should the fight with Covington go on as planned, early oddsmakers have already pegged Woodley as a favorite of approximately (-150) or greater.
Undergoes surgery, targeting early-2019 return
October 12, 2018
Woodley underwent successful hand surgery Thursday, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Woodley is now looking at approximately an eight-week recovery timetable before being able to resume training. That timeline puts him in place for an early-2019 return, when the UFC is hopeful to book him for a title defense against interim champion Colby Covington.
To undergo hand surgery, out 8-12 weeks
September 21, 2018
Woodley will undergo hand surgery and be out for 8-to-12 weeks, Danny Segura of MMAFighting.com reports.
The UFC welterweight champion's injury occurred during his most recent bout, in which he secured a victory over Darren Till during UFC 228. According to the report, Woodley suffered a dislocated thumb and three torn ligaments. This injury almost certainly rules him out of headlining the Madison Square Garden event Nov. 3, and a return in 2018 is likely out of the question. UFC President Dana White has suggested in the past that Woodley's next opponent would be Colby Covington, but it's unclear how long Covington is willing to wait before scheduling another fight.
Successfully turns back challenge from Darren Till in the main event of UFC 228
September 8, 2018
Woodley defeated Darren Till via submission (D'Arce choke) at 4:19 of Round 2 at UFC 228 on Saturday in Dallas.
This was perhaps the most complete performance of Woodley's championship run. In the first round, he controlled the distance with his striking and movement. He entered the clinch multiple times, but he could not score takedowns. In the second round, Woodley stepped forward with a counter right hand and dropped Till. The champion pounced and landed a ton of elbows from the top. Till survived and got his guard back. Unfortunately, Woodley used the opportunity to lock in a D'Arce choke. It was tight, and the fight was over. This was an overall impressive performance from the champion.