This past weekend, Tyron Woodley was dominated by Gilbert Burns at UFC on ESPN 9. It was a dreadful performance from the former champion who never looked comfortable and lost all five rounds handily. Afterwards, Woodley’s longtime rival, Colby Covington, was quick to try and bury Woodley, saying “The Chosen One” is “washed up” and strictly fighting for a paycheck. But as quick as Covington was to throw shade on Woodley, it seems the UFC was even quicker with trying to finally set up that grudge match.
Speaking with ESPN on Wednesday, Woodley revealed that the UFC has already approached him about fighting Covington, and that he has once again agreed.
“They offered me that fight, I told them I’m in,” Woodley said. “I mean, I just don’t want to talk a lot about Colby because Colby is an actor, man. I know what he is doing and it makes sense and it’s kind of fun to watch but, at the end of the day, Colby has turned me down five or six times. But I think after losing two fights back-to-back I think it may be a time he may accept it because he may think I’m down and out.”
Covington certainly does think Woodley is down and out, but whether the fight will take place is still very much up in the air. Woodley and Covington have been playing fight-tag for nearly two years, without ever even getting a bout officially booked.
After winning an interim championship at UFC 225 in 2018, Covington was supposed to get his shot at Woodley that fall. Instead though, Covington had nasal surgery and was unable to make the UFC’s timeline. Instead, Woodley faced Darren Till at UFC 228 and Covington was stripped of his interim title. The two were again linked to a bout in March of 2019, but once again Covington was passed over, reportedly because of a Covington contract dispute. Then, most recently, Covington postured publicly about stepping in to face Woodley on short notice when the UFC was scrambling to make events happen amid the coronavirus, but still the fight never came to fruition. It seems the UFC is hoping the fourth time is the charm though as Woodley says the immediately approached him about the fight after the Burns loss.
“That was the first thing they did,” Woodley said. “They wanted to see if I was alright then they offered me the fight against Colby. I told Malki (Kawa) to make sure you tell them today, yes. Don’t wait until tomorrow, tell them today yes. I got a contusion I’ve got to deal and I can’t fight anyway for 45 to 60 days because of the cut. I’ve been icing six, seven times a day, icing, ibuprofen, so I’ve been doing the right stuff. Fighting Colby right now is like fighting this race war. This brutality and just the unsettling climate of our culture. I’m just going to take it as that. So, they have offered me Colby and I once again have accepted again and we will see what happens.”
For his part, Covington seems more interested in pursuing a bout with former friend and teammate Jorge Masvidal. However, Masvidal is still the frontrunner to receive the next welterweight title shot against Kamaru Usman, meaning Covington’s dance card could still be open.
Covington last fought at UFC 245, losing by fifth-round TKO to Usman.