Tyron Woodley is no longer the UFC welterweight champion. After a lengthy reign atop the division, he was dethroned by Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 earlier this month, giving up a unanimous decision after five grueling rounds of action.
After such a lengthy time as champion, returning to the welterweight contendership race has understandably been a difficult adjustment for Tyron Woodley.
The former champion discusses this difficult process in a recent interview with Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie.
“It feels weird,” he said candidly. “When you said ‘former champion’ I wanted to turn around and just kind of [mean] mug you a little bit. But you know, it’s a part of the game.
“You never know when you’re going to get another chance at the world title, so when you get to that point and you get defeated, it’s a crushing feeling,” he added. “I’ve given that feeling to a lot of fighters.
“For me, I’ve tried to stay busy. I just came from vacation,” he added. “There’s going to come a day when I don’t have anything to do an I’m going to have to really deal with it.”
Tyron Woodley also reflected on the loss to Usman itself. He maintains that he didn’t feel like himself in the cage.
“It’s just something I didn’t see coming,” he said. “It’s a performance I can’t even explain. It was like an out of body experience, like I was just floating. My coaches were trying to fire me up and I just kind of had a blank stare, that’s the best way I can explain it. [Usman] came out and delivered. He stuck to the game plan. He won every round and he did what he needed to do. He remained focused, and he’s the champion now.”
With this tough loss to Kamaru Usman behind him, Tyron Woodley admits he’ll have to return to the drawing board and reassess his goals for the immediate future.
“Now it’s the road to redemption,” he said. “I thought in my head I was going to beat him, beat Colby [Covington], go get the middleweight belt, and at the end of the year be Fighter of the Year. Obviously God has a different plan for me, and I feel like, with a crushing loss like that — for myself, I was heartbroken — I feel like the comeback is going to be so vicious.”
What do you think the future holds for Tyron Woodley after his loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/24/2019.