Tyron Woodley may not like Colby Covington but as much as he despises the former interim welterweight champion, he still remains next in line for a title shot.
This weekend at UFC 235, Woodley looks to defend his title for the fourth consecutive time when he takes on Kamaru Usman in the co-main event from Las Vegas. Usman leap frogged Covington to receive the title shot after the UFC opted to offer him the opportunity following a lopsided win over Rafael dos Anjos last November.
Covington exploded once that fight was made official as he lashed out at UFC president Dana White and the entire promotion for taking away his opportunity to compete for the welterweight title.
Covington claimed it was retribution after he scheduled sinus surgery following his own win over dos Anjos last June and then the UFC tried to book him against Woodley three months later. Then Covington was expected to face Woodley at UFC 233 in January but when the champion couldn’t get cleared due to his own injury, the promotion attempted to book him against Usman instead.
Covington refused and the UFC ultimately moved on without him.
Despite his ongoing war of words with White and the UFC, Covington is still ranked No. 1 overall at welterweight, which means he should receive the next shot at the title. As much as Woodley can’t stand his former teammate, he admits Covington is probably the next opponent he will face if he gets through Usman on Saturday night.
“I love it. I ain’t had an easy fight in so long,” Woodley said about fighting Covington during a media luncheon ahead of UFC 235. “I mean technically wise, he’s kind of right there. If a person was going to fight for a title, we’ve got a UFC fight Saturday, the winner of that fight is obviously going to want to defend, who would be the next person somebody would fight?
“Colby, unfortunately whether we like it or not, is kind of next in line.”
Woodley might be sick and tired of hearing Covington talk about him but he desperately wants to be the person to finally shut him up inside the Octagon.
That said, Woodley will give Covington one more opportunity to face him after UFC 235 is finished and if the fight still doesn’t happen then he’s moving onto whoever’s next.
“He’s been in front of the line twice,” Woodley explained. “He’s in front of [Darren] Till, he didn’t want to take the fight. Till took it. He was in front of [Kamaru] Usman, he didn’t want to take the fight. Usman took it. These are times he was supposed to fight me. I’ve never in my life said I wouldn’t fight Colby.
“So he has decided for whatever reason not to fight twice. So if he doesn’t fight after this, then I’ll move on. I might go hunt down the 185 [pound] belt.”