After having his fight against Leon Edwards postponed, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley had other potential opponents willing to step in on short-notice for a fight. Unfortunately, none materialized, as the UFC officially postponed the UFC London event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns both throwing their names into the hat to face Woodley, it seemed as though the former champion has moved on from Leon Edwards and shifted focus to facing Covington as the two have a long-standing rivalry between them.
One of Woodley’s coaches, Din Thomas, who recently departed from American Top Team, spoke to Mike Pendleton about what’s next for Woodley and said while the choice isn’t for Woodley to make right now, they want Covington next.
— Mike Pendleton (@MP2310) March 25, 2020
“I mean it’s not really up to Tyron right now, I mean he’s not the champ anymore, so unfortunately he doesn’t any leverage to pick his opponents,” Thomas said. “I mean not that he did when he was champ but he’s got even less now. We obviously want Colby. I think that’s the fight more fans want to see but if Dana says it’s Leon [Edwards] then it’s got to be Leon. There’s no need to be difficult, Tyron believes in himself, I believe in Tyron, he’s going to win either way. If it has to be Leon then it has to be Leon, but we want Colby.”
Now that Thomas has left American Top Team he’ll be away from the antics of Colby Covington, who has gotten under the skin of some of his teammates, but Thomas says he doesn’t care about Covington’s actions he’s just supporting Woodley wanting a specific fight.
“It still doesn’t mean anything to me,” he said. “This is more just me getting my homeboy’s back because I know Tyron has a problem with him and he really wants to fight him. Leon is not a fight that he wanted but Colby is a fight that he wants, so it’s just me supporting my man and what he wants. For me it doesn’t matter, I don’t have any ill-will towards Colby, I don’t care about Colby. I don’t think about Colby one second other than when someone asks me about him. I don’t care whether Colby wins, loses, wins, or dies, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UFC to postpone events, Tyron Woodley had been scheduled to face Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC London on March 21, and Thomas described the chaos that went on behind the scenes as both he and Woodley were preparing to leave for the event.
“We finished camp up on Friday and I normally go back home and Tyron goes back home then we meet up wherever the location is that we meet up at,” he said. “He was going out to London on Sunday and that was going to happen, then next thing I know it was on Sunday they [UFC] were like ‘Nah, we’re not going to do it in London anymore, we’re gonna try to do it in the States.’ I was going to leave on Monday so I was like alright cool I’m just going to get my tickets fixed. By the time Monday came around they were still talking about doing the fight. I remember being on my radio show on ESPN West Palm and I was communicating with Tyron while I was doing the show, saying just let me know where you need me to be, I got my bag packed in the car.”
Thomas added that despite all the chaos around the status of Tyron Woodley’s fight, the former champion was still getting in his necessary training as if the fight was going to happen.
“Up until that Monday of fight week, Tyron was like ‘I’m still running and cutting weight, I’m just waiting for them to send me a location and opponent.’ The opponent was eventually going to be Gilbert Burns but the location still wasn’t set yet,” Thomas said. “Then by like 5:30 in the afternoon that’s when they actually pulled the plug on all of it and just said it’s not happening. That was when I let my guard down but up until that point, I was ready to go. That whole week was like madness, I was ready to go.”
Although Woodley has shifted his focus to Covington, his scheduled opponent Leon Edwards is not willing to let him off the hook and wants the fight to happen when the pandemic subsides. Dana White has said that the fights that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rescheduled, so Woodley may be facing Edwards regardless of his preference for a Covington fight.
Who do you think Tyron Woodley should fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/25/2020.