UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has shared some interesting insights on the upcoming fight between Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley.
Usman holds victories over both men. He beat Woodley in early 2019 to win the welterweight title, then defended the belt against Covington in late 2019.
Having spent time in the cage with both fighters, he’s uniquely positioned to comment on their upcoming matchup. He did so on the UFC Vegas 9 post-fight show.
“This is an intriguing fight. I love this fight,” Usman began (via MMA Fighting). “This is a grudge match that should have happened a long time ago.”
Woodley has come up short in his last two fights, giving up decisions to Usman and Gilbert Burns—both pressure-fighters cut from the same cloth as Covington. Given that, Usman believes the former champ could be in trouble in this fight, but he also notes that Woodley has a good track record against southpaws like Covington.
“I think that this is the best and possibly the worst case scenario for Tyron Woodley,” Usman continued. “As far as style matchups, I think this is probably one of the worst stylistic matchups for him after coming off back-to-back fights with guys that love kind of pressure him. Guys that can grapple as well and guys that kind of throw some volume.
“On the flipside, this is a tremendous matchup for Tyron Woodley because Tyron Woodley is a specialist when it comes to dealing with southpaws,” Usman added. “He knows how to angle off, to kind of guide them into that big right hand that he has.”
Usman also admitted that’s been a bit swayed by Woodley’s repeated assurances that he’s back on track mentally and physically after his two recent losses.
“Of course, the one thing that I feel like I’m being pulled in again is Tyron is giving me this ‘I’m back, I’m back, I’m back.’ So I’m starting to drink the Kool-Aid again,” Usman said. “Maybe the Tyron Woodley of old is back.
“I’m intrigued by this matchup,” he added. “I can’t wait to see it happen. Two guys that I’m familiar with and I’ll be watching closely.”
Kamaru Usman is scheduled to defend the UFC welterweight title against Gilbert Burns at UFC 256 this December. The winner of this Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley fight will be well positioned for a crack at his title in the not too distant future.