Can Tyron Woodley And Colby Covington Save UFC 249?
Tyron Woodley is once again ready to sign on the dotted line and settle his long standing feud with Colby Covington. That in itself is perhaps nothing new to anyone that has followed their rivalry. However, this time the former welterweight champion has declared that it’s either now or never.
This latest back and forth started a few weeks ago. ‘The Chosen One’ found himself without a dance partner when Leon Edwards could not make it to their main event at UFC London. Covington put out a video calling out Woodley, but ultimately the entire card was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic struck again this week, shaking an already wobbly UFC 249. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov first found himself unable to leave Russia and is now unwilling to participate, citing health concerns. Thus putting the final nail in his April 18th title fight against Tony Ferguson. (We can all agree that is MMA’s most cursed fight, right?)
Within a minute of each other, both Woodley and Covington took to social media to declare that they would fight each other to save the card. Tyron has since put out another video and suddenly…this bout begins to feel like it could actually happen.
Speaking on an Instagram Q&A (as transcribed by MMA Fighting) the two time NCAA, Division 1-All American promises this is the last time he’s chasing this bout.
“This is my last time saying I want to fight Colby. If Colby don’t fight me this time, I’m moving on. Like think about it, why am I even talking about fighting Colby? He’s never won an undisputed title, he’s never been a champion. I’ve won five world titles. I’ve fought in seven [title fights]. For me to even have his name in my mouth is stupid. This s*** is mucus. I should just spit it out in the grass.
“But at the end of the day, this is his last opportunity for me to even mention him. If he don’t fight me at this time, you’re never even going to hear his name, cause it doesn’t solidify my legacy to fight him. I just want to beat his ass cause y’all need to see him get whooped.”
As comical as the rivalry may seem at times, it’s real and it stems from years back when both fighters were training out of American Top Team in Florida.
Covington has made several claims of beating Woodley in their sparring sessions, all of which the former welterweight champion vehemently denies.
“I don’t know if he’s tripping on acid or whatever the f*** is going on that he won any second of any exchange at all in those weeks – never happened,” Woodley said. “He never took me down one time. He may have landed his glove to my head maybe three times in three weeks and he literally ran from me the whole time.
“He made me make the choice as a training partner, do I knock this motherf***er out? Do I actually break his arm? Do I put him to sleep? Cause all he did was get put in submissions, get put in holes, get put in bad situations, and he made me make the choice as a fighter do I f*** this dude up? And I didn’t want to make that choice to do so.”
Covington may be brash and controversial, but the man can fight. And after racking a string of victories, he began to go after Woodley, aiming to get a shot at the title.
The 32 year old Covington routinely bashed Woodley in public, using his polarizing persona to try to egg Woodley into a fight. Tyron said when the trash talk first started, Covington wanted to team up and create a public stir in hopes of building a bigger fight.
“He used one complete year to talk about me,” Woodley said. “One year where 99 percent of his handle was me. Cause I text him, [and] I said I gave you your one little moment of shine. If you want to say whatever you want to say, you can do what you’ve got to do, if that’s what you feel you need to do, you don’t have to build yourself like that, you’re looking stupid. But I ain’t gonna reply back.
“He’s like, ‘Oh man, I’m just trying to build up the fight with us, we both can make money at the finish line,’ so he’s like trying to get me involved with this sh*t, but I’m like, ‘No, I’m cool.’ Then he knew I wasn’t going to say nothing so he went HAM. The second he won the interim belt, I’m like motherf***er let’s go, let’s fight. Now you’ve got to live up to it. Mute, deactivated his Instagram account for a week. So that’s what he is, he’s all cap.”
With Khabib out and Ferguson without an opponent, the time may be right for Covington and if he is serious about fighting this time around, Woodley is ready to accept but he admits he remains doubtful the former interim welterweight champion will step into the cage. Tyron believes Colby will price himself out and demand the kind of money the UFC is not willing to pay.
“He asking for astronomical amounts of money,” Woodley said. “Conor McGregor ain’t making that kind of money. Why do you gotta make that much money to fight me? You fought [Kamaru] Usman for what you was scheduled to make. You fought [Rafael dos Anjos], you fought Robbie Lawler, but when it comes to Tyron Woodley, you want five, six, seven million bucks, because you scared and you gonna get smashed and it’s going to be so embarrassing that you may want to retire after that.
“So he’s trying to ask for the amount of money that he can go retire on his trailer home in freaking Florida with all his B-level, C-level, D-level strippers that he hires to come walk around him. So that’s what it is.”
We’re less than three weeks away from what was supposed to be an epic card, but with no location or main event, all hope seems lost. But if Woodley gets his wish, maybe UFC 249 can still be saved. And all it’ll take is for Covington to agree. It’s kinda funny if you think about it, one weekend of MMA fights, one night for the MMA community to enjoy a brief moment of normalcy might lie on the shoulders of a man called ‘Chaos’.
Would you like to see Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington face off at UFC 249?