Tyron Woodley needs to stop trying to pick and choose his opponents and just ‘fight’.
That’s according to reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who relieved ‘T-Wood’ of his championship duty with a dominant unanimous decision over the former champ in the UFC 235 main event last March.
Usman has since gone on to defend his title against Colby Covington at UFC 245, while Woodley, 38, has been on the sidelines for over a year.
Woodley was expected to return to action against Leon Edwards last month, but the UFC London card was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Woodley is no longer interested in Edwards and has shifted his attention towards Covington, but Usman has warned the ‘The Chosen One’ that he isn’t getting any younger and should fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him rather than trying to play matchmaker.
“This whole situation has kind of thrown a damper on things, but I feel like Tyron is holding himself back for god knows what,” Usman told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “Cause you’re not getting any younger. You’re a talented guy. You’ve got a lot of skills. The only way for you to get back to the title is just to fight.
“Fight, guys. It doesn’t matter who you fight. Say yes to everybody. Go out there and fight, and I know he’s not saying yes to everybody.
“But say yes to anyone that they throw in front of you, and you go out there and knock out enough guys, guess what? They have no choice but to give you a title shot. This whole pick and choose who you want, this and that, that’s not working for you. Because the only thing you’re wasting is time.”
Usman says Woodley’s mentality of being owed special treatment by the UFC is ultimately costing him his career, and advised the MMA veteran to follow in the footsteps of Hard Knocks 365 teammate Gilbert Burns.
“That’s the approach you have to have,” Usman said. “The difference is Tyron is still hanging onto that mentality of being a champion and being accustomed to a certain kind of treatment. You’re not in that in that situation.
“You’ve got to approach it like Gilbert [Burns] is approaching it. You want to put someone in front of me, it’s an opportunity to make some money and knock somebody out. That’s why Gilbert has ascended the way that he has.”
Despite his inactivity over the last year, Woodley is still ranked #1 in the UFC welterweight rankings and #13 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.