Before he was dethroned by Kamaru Usman, former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley was making his case for being one of the greatest champions in the legendary division which was home to Georges St-Pierre for many years. Having defeated Robbie Lawler to win his first title, then defending that title against Stephen Thompson twice, Demian Maia, and Darren Till, there was a growing belief that if he continued his pace, Woodley could put his career on another level.
Unfortunately as the fight game goes, Woodley was beaten by Usman back at UFC 235 in March of 2019 and has since seen two bouts be cancelled as he attempts to work his way back to the top of the division. In the main event of UFC Fight Night, Tyron Woodley will meet rising contender Gilbert Burns, and both men have an unique opportunity and reward in front of them.
For Woodley, a win over Burns would not only cement his place in the division, but in a division with much unknown at this time, finding himself in the title picture discussion is not out of possibility with a statement victory. With names like Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz, Leon Edwards, Colby Covington, the champion Kamaru Usman, and the big-money fight in Conor McGregor, there are no shortages of options at welterweight, but there is not much clarity on what’s next for any of these names either.
Woodley has said he wants to win the welterweight title back then make the jump to the middleweight division where names like Robert Whittaker, Till, and champion Israel Adesanya will await him if he chooses to make that move.
It will be no easy task getting a win over Burns who has wins over Alexey Kunchenko, Gunnar Nelson, and Demian Maia in his last three fights and has also won five of his last six fights inside the Octagon. Burns has continued to stay busy and is always willing to step up and fight any opponent at any given time, no matter the weight class, as he’s always throwing his name in the mix when there’s a fighter who has to withdraw from their fight.
A win for “Durinho” over Woodley would inject him right into the mix of the best in the welterweight division, and that is more added motivation for Woodley to return to his old form. One bad fight against Usman and Woodley has seen the critics come out from the dark and overlook all he has done in his career and discredit his championship run, which is only foolish to do so.
A new and eager name is looking to get past Tyron Woodley and put himself in the mix at 170 pounds, while Woodley is looking to get back to where he once was as the UFC champion and then jump up to the middleweight division when he’s done with his business at 170 pounds.
Both fighters have a unique opportunity on Saturday night, but with a win for “The Chosen One” there are possible big-name opponents, big-money fights, and title implications on the line if he reminds everyone just how good Tyron Woodley is.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews, BJPenn.com, and TheScrap.Co while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and works as an Associate Producer on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to some of the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310