Tyron Woodley isn’t ready to hang up his gloves for good just yet.
The 38-year-old former welterweight champion returned to action in the main event of UFC Vegas 11 this past Saturday against former interim titleholder and bitter rival Colby Covington. For the third time in as many fights, “The Chosen One” came up short against the division’s elite.
And not only that but, once again, it wasn’t particularly competitive. In fact, Woodley has now lost nearly 15 consecutive rounds.
And while he hasn’t been getting brutally knocked out or finished as some fighters tend to do as they age, Woodley simply hasn’t looked like the same competitor that had a gold belt strapped around his waist just a few years ago. Against Covington, for example, the Missouri native not only suffered a one-sided defeat and a broken rib, but he once again looked hesitant, uninspired, and like he had very little to offer.
Following the fight, which undoubtedly put Covington back into title discussions, UFC President Dana White admitted that the end may be near for Woodley.
“I think that he should start thinking about hanging it up,” White said during the UFC Vegas 11 post-fight press conference. “He’s had a great career, he’s had a great run. He’s made money.”
Woodley, however, appears to disagree with White – and many in the MMA community for that matter – when it comes to retirement, as he spoke on the matter following the bout.
“I’m not retiring – I’m not giving it up,” Woodley said on Instagram Live via MMAFighting.com. “I’m not switching all my coaches up. I’m not changing the continent I live on. I’m not doing all that.
“Some sh*t didn’t happen and guess what? I don’t know why it didn’t happen. I did everything to make it happen. Now we just take a deep breath and see what’s next.”
There’s no denying the success that Woodley has had in his career. After a successful collegiate wrestling stint at the University of Missouri, Woodley made a name for himself in both Strikeforce and the UFC and established himself as an elite level talent with his reign as UFC champion.
At this moment, however, he just isn’t the same kind of athlete that he once was. That doesn’t necessarily mean he has to stop competing completely and only he can make that decision. It would appear, however, that his time as a top-level welterweight has come to an end.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.