Has Tyron Woodley found the key to unlock his past brutal performances?

Tyron Woodley is at a career crossroads. 

The former UFC welterweight champion has not won since 2018. He lost his last two fights decisively against formidable top contenders in Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington. 

Woodley hopes to change course for the better when he faces no. 10 ranked welterweight Vicente Luque in the co-main event of UFC 260 on Saturday.

UFC 260’s initial co-main event was supposed to feature a featherweight title bout between champion Alexander Volkanovski and top contender Brian Ortega.  But after Volkanovski was pulled from the fight due to COVID-19 protocols, Woodley’s welterweight bout with Luque was promoted to the co-main event.

For Woodley, a former champion who has main evented and co-main evented nine UFC events, the spotlight is nothing new. But it did take him by surprise.

“I didn’t even know that until [Tuesday],” Woodley said. “Same fight, same stakes at hand for me, so I wasn’t really too focused on it.” 

Woodley has spoken at length about how he watched himself lose his past three fights against Kamaru Usman, Burns, and Covington, respectively. 

Tyron Woodley believes he has overcome recent roadblocks

Speaking with MMAWeekly at UFC 260 media day, “The Chosen One” elaborated on how he plans to adjust his mentality to avoid another loss on his record. 

“Just exercising free will, I had the chance in each fight to win. I had the chance to throw punches. I had the chance to move forward. I had the chance to be first and I had the chance to defend. I had the chance to be first and I chose not to for whatever reason,” Woodley said. “So just unlocking those reasons why. I think those are very personal to me and my camp. Of course, I want to share those with you guys, but I feel like I’ve unlocked those things.”

Woodley also exhibited a bit of reluctance in his last few bouts. His lack of initiative in those fights cast a stark difference to the Tyron Woodley who viciously knocked out Robbie Lawler.

Tyron Woodley knocks out Robbie Lawler at UFC 201
Tyron Woodley knocks out Robbie Lawler at UFC 201

“The Chosen One” believes taking initiative in the fight is a key component to his success in the octagon.

“I think I should do that with every fight,” Woodley said. “When I do best is when I’m first, when I take the fight to my opponent. So I think that’s just something that has to be from now to the rest of my career.” 

As far as what an ideal 2021 looks like for Woodley, he was candid.

“Just going out there and performing like a motherf—er in every fight,” Woodley said. “Doing what I can do and showing people what I’m capable of, and reminding them of how dangerous I really am.”

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