UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, a man who has fought and defeated both Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington, says that he is intrigued to see their upcoming matchup on September 19 — and says that Woodley will have stylistic strengths and weaknesses when both men set foot in the cage in less than two weeks’ time.
Former champion Woodley has lost two straight fights in the Octagon (to Usman and Gilbert Burns) and Usman says that he thinks that Covington’s pressure style of fighting will pose significant problems. On the other hand (literally), Usman is also of the opinion that Woodley’s success against southpaws could be a vital factor in the upcoming contest.
“This is an intriguing fight. I love this fight,” Usman told MMA Fighting. “This is a grudge match that should have happened a long time ago. I think that this is the best and possibly the worst case scenario for Tyron Woodley,” Usman continued. “As far as style matchups, I think this is probably one of the worst stylistic matchups for him after coming off back-to-back fights with guys that love kind of pressure him. Guys that can grapple as well and guys that kind of throw some volume.
“On the flipside, this is a tremendous matchup for Tyron Woodley because Tyron Woodley is a specialist when it comes to dealing with southpaws. He knows how to angle off, to kind of guide them into that big right hand that he has.”
Recent interviews have suggested that Woodley has rediscovered the confidence which led him to winning the UFC’s 170-pound title several years ago and, despite it being relatively commonplace for fighters to make these types of assertions, Usman says that he sees some truth in the words.
“Of course, the one thing that I feel like I’m being pulled in again is Tyron is giving me this ‘I’m back, I’m back, I’m back.’ So I’m starting to drink the Kool-Aid again,” Usman said. “Maybe the Tyron Woodley of old is back. I’m intrigued by this matchup. I can’t wait to see it happen. Two guys that I’m familiar with and I’ll be watching closely.”
Usman, meanwhile, is slated to make the next defence of his welterweight title at UFC 256 in December against Gilbert Burns.