Tyron Woodley: A nightmare to remember

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Tyron Woodley celebrates after his knockout victory over Robbie Lawler in their welterweight championship bout during the UFC 201 event on July 30, 2016 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Tyron Woodley last fought at UFC 235. It was a one-sided bout which saw the crowning of a new champion Kamaru Usman. There was a lot happening around that time. Woodley’s best friend Ben Askren was making his UFC debut on the same night. Woodley had a number of side projects. He made a rap song with Wiz Khalifa.  He starred in a few action movies, including a Bollywood movie called Sultan. For those who don’t know, Sultan is one of the highest-grossing Bollywood movies of all time. Following UFC 235, Woodley has been in the news mostly for his rapping. He has a number of rap songs under his belt. But the one evoking the strongest reactions was this one.

When he isn’t rapping or acting, he’s podcasting. Tyron Woodley is also a regular feature on TMZ.

It often happens with fans. We’re all only human and no one is exempt from recency bias. What we now remember about Woodley are the rap songs, the clips on social media, the twitter battles with other fighters such as Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, Leon Edwards. The back and forth with UFC President Dana White continued as usual. Woodley threw his weight around before agreeing to face Edwards in London. Ultimately, that fight (among many others) was canceled in the wake of the Coronavirus. Talks began regarding a potential fight between Woodley and Colby Covington. Ultimately, those talks remained just that – talks.

The MMA Record of Tyron Woodley 

Before losing to Usman, Woodley was unbeaten since 2014. His last loss before Usman came against the “Red King”, Rory MacDonald

At UFC 228, Woodley beat Darren Till handily.  Till who was on a sensational run, looked clueless as he fell victim to a Darce choke. Prior to Till, Woodley defended against Demian Maia, who is perhaps the greatest welterweight grappler of all time. There were of course criticisms against Woodley in that fight as well, but Woodley had a game plan and stuck to it.

The same can be said about the back-to-back defenses that Woodley had against Stephen Wonderboy Thompson. As much as Maia is the greatest welterweight grappler, Wonderboy is the greatest welterweight striker.  Oddly enough Woodley was discounted going into both the wonderboy fights and the Maia fight.

Before that Woodley won the title against none other than Ruthless Robbie Lawler, with a right hand that displayed the power he possesses. Woodley also holds a win over Kelvin Gastelum, who is now a top contender for middleweight gold. 

The welterweight division has seen a lot of activity. Usman went on to have a blistering first title defense against Colby Covington. Covington himself has been making waves. Jorge Masvidal has been on a tear through the division, including an epic five-second knockout against Askren.   

Perhaps in the middle of this chaos, it is easy to overlook Woodley. It is equally easy to overlook Gilbert Burns. Burns and Woodley will face off this weekend. The two have a common opponent in Maia. While Woodley strategized around the black belt, Burns managed to pick up a first-round knockout. 

The strength of Woodley’s resume and his high fight IQ should secure him the win this weekend.  But Burns is a dangerous opponent for sure.

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