Tyron Woodley is “working on getting his motivation back,” says coach

Tyron Woodley, UFC 235
Image: @ufc on Instagram

Coach Duke Roufus says former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is currently attempting to rekindle his motivation to compete.

Woodley is widely considered one of the greatest welterweights in MMA history, but he’s recently fallen on tough times. After defending the welterweight title against Darren Till in late 2018, he then lost the title to Kamaru Usman in 2019, before losing back-to-back decisions to Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington this year.

Roufus, who has coached Tyron Woodley through the recent chapters of his career, says the former champion is currently focused on regaining his motivation.

“He’s really just working his way back up,” Roufus told MMA Fighting. “A lot of people don’t realize the change in—You hate to talk about money, but people who fist fight for a living, I did for 20 years, I understand these guys want more than normal people. The way it works when you are the champion you get paid X amount, then you go back to your normal pay and it’s definitely a change of attitude. I think it’s a little harder to stay motivated, I think it’s harder to become champion again in the UFC because it’s such a change of attitude and people who’ve been doing it, I tip my hat to them. It’s very hard.

“Tyron is working on getting his motivation back. You can say what you want about him, but there’s no quit in the man. I respect that a lot. Most people would give up after the tough days these guys see, but there’s no quit in Tyron and he’s optimistic about 2021 and he’s looking to turn it around.”

Roufus added that Woodley hopes to fight in early 2021, and that they were aiming take on Michael Chiesa next, until Chiesa was booked for a fight with Neil Magny.

While there on the calendar for Woodley at the moment, Roufus is hopeful 2021 will be a vastly improved year for the former champ.

“A lot of people don’t understand these guys have tough upbringings and unfortunately these guys suppress a lot of the bad things that have happened in their lives,” Roufus said. “They use it as motivation for a long time but these situations they grew up with they kind of hide them for the longest time and they cause a lot of emotional strife in their life and I believe their emotions are blocked when they get into the arena. But as close people in the inner circle we help work through them and help them be the best they can be.

“I think that Tyron heading into 2021 is gonna be a better fighter and person and he’s gonna figure it out. One of my favorite guys I follow in jiu-jitsu—I don’t train with him but I like a lot of what he talks about—is Chris Saunders. He has a great quote about jiu-jitsu: ‘The best isn’t who does the best. The best are the guys who stick around the longest.’ That’s what it is, you’ve just got to endure and keep fighting until you figure it out.”

What do you think the future holds for Tyron Woodley?

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