The two are former training partners at American Top Team and bitter rivals. Covington called out Woodley following his UFC 225 win and Woodley has responded via social media and during several podcast appearances.
Covington has a stifling style. He pressures his opponents until they wilt and it’s taken him to the top of the division. The only man standing in his way of becoming undisputed welterweight champ is Woodley, and Woodley believes Covington’s style plays right into his hand.
“If their number one attribute is cardio, they’re up s–t creek because cardio is a controllable variable. You can’t control that I’m a better wrestler; I’m stronger than you. You can’t control that I punch a s–t-load harder than you. You can’t vouch for those things in a six-week training camp. In one year, you can’t change your punching power to be measurable to mine,” said Woodley during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“His ground is terrible. When you think about all those attributes, I’ve said this before, put your chin on the treadmill. Show me how you can condition your chin to take a punch.”
Woodley has had success against pressure fighters in the past and believes he’ll have success against Covington when the two eventually meet inside the Octagon.
“Fighters that press me like that have been the ones that get knocked out. Koscheck was one and got knocked out. Robbie (Lawler) is a pressure fighter. He got knocked out. I’ve fought a guy like him before,” said Woodley. “These are people I call The Walking Dead. They know they have to get a takedown.”
Taking Woodley down has proven difficult for everyone that he’s faced. He has a 97.6 takedown defense percentage. It’s the best in UFC history.
“It’s not like I just have the best takedown defense in the welterweight division. I have the best takedown defense in the history of the UFC. It’s kind of funny that his whole game plan is surrounded around taking me down.”
Woodley and Covington have yet to set a date to meet in the Octagon, but it is expected to happen later this year.