On March 21st, 2020, former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, was booked to face England’s Leon Edwards at the O2 Arena in what was scheduled to be the main event of UFC Fight Night 171: London. However, for numerous reasons, it fell through. In the aftermath of the cancellation, Woodley called out several fighters and created intrigue in various future fights.
As a result, we’re going to consider what should be next for Woodley.
Covington or Edwards?
After Dana White announced that the UFC were looking at moving the fight to a different location following the impact of COVID-19 on the United Kingdom, the 28-year-old Englishman opted to withdraw from the contest. Despite disappointment within the MMA community following the cancellation of the main event, the aftermath did reignite a broader interest in seeing Colby Covington finally face off against Woodley in the octagon.
Edwards went to Instagram to declare his withdrawal from UFC London, which resulted in Covington taking to Twitter to express an interest in stepping in to face the former champion at a different location. Although nothing would come of the social media back and forth between Chaos and T-Wood, it seems clear that the two American fighters are on course to fight in the future, despite claims from Woodley that Covington has already dodged the potential match-up on four separate occasions.
While it remains to be seen what happens next, it’s undeniable that the 37-year-old from Missouri has several options in front of him. Edwards hopes that the biggest fight of his career will be rebooked, but with Covington having reignited his feud with Woodley, the former champ may decide to turn his attentions elsewhere.
A True Fighter at Heart
Throughout his reign as the UFC welterweight champion, Woodley would often split opinion as his approach to defending his belt was often methodical and not always easy on the eye. Having won the belt from Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 via first-round knockout, T-Wood would successfully defend his title against Darren Till, Demian Maia, and Stephen Thompson, before being dominated by Kamaru Usman in a five-round fight.
During the two bouts with Thompson and the later match-up against Maia, the 37-year-old fought, in the eyes of many, not to win, but instead to avoid defeat. While this resulted in some turning on the former champion, Woodley’s attitude in the wake of the cancellation of his main-event fight with Edwards has once again highlighted that he is a pure fighter.
The 13th-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC accepted short-notice bouts with Covington and Gilbert Burns in seeking to give the fans a show. Although neither came to fruition, Woodley deserves credit for his passion to fight, even against Burns, where, in reality, he had very little to gain. It remains to be seen what’s next for T-Wood, but given that he’s fit and healthy, and if he still has a desire to fight Burns, UFC 250 in May could be plausible with the bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo, who is priced at 5/9 at Space Casino to defeat Jose Aldo as of March 25th, headlining the card in Burns’ native Brazil.
A Promising Time for the Welterweight Division
Even though the UFC, like many sports, currently faces a period of unpredictability, the welterweight division is in a very encouraging position ready for when normality resumes. Crucially, there are plenty of options available to the matchmakers in regards to Tyron Woodley’s next opponents, with Burns, Edwards, and Covington, all eager to face the former champion.