While he’s been dipping his toes in many waters lately, former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has recently revived a familiar aspiration: title gold.
Woodley held the 170-pound belt on MMA’s biggest stage between 2016 and 2019, defending it against the challenges of Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and Darren Till before being dethroned by current champ Kamaru Usman.
After falling to three further defeats versus Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Vicente Luque, “The Chosen One” departed the Octagon. But while he’s been absent from MMA since, he maintained his place as a prominent combat sports figure with back-to-back boxing matches with YouTube sensation Jake Paul last year.
And despite losing both, the second via a brutal knockout, Woodley is looking ahead to his next venture, be it in the ring or the cage.
During an appearance on The Residency Podcast, Woodley addressed his future, which will likely include a return to mixed martial arts soon enough.
The 40-year-old said that he’s expecting to feature under the banners of some secondary MMA promotions moving forward, should the pay checks meet his requirements. With that, Woodley suggested that he’s had offers from every organization other than the UFC.
“Yeah, I’m gonna give them (secondary MMA promotions) love. I’m gonna go out and fight one big-ass fight with all of ’em,” Woodley said. “(They’re) not gonna get me in there for under six, seven figures. I’m not gonna do it because I’m worth it, I’ve made it already, and it’s not about my winning streak, and my record, and the belt. Right now, it’s about do motherf*ckers wanna rally behind? Do they wanna see you lose again? Do they think you washed up?
“The thing about it is, I can fight a PFL fight, I can fight a ONE FC fight, I can fight a Bellator fight, I could fight a UFC fight,” Woodley added. “Every single organization I have an offer from… except the UFC.”
Woodley Gets Pep Talk From Fan
But although his decision to share the squared circle with Paul twice, as well as business ventures beyond the realm of combat sports, appeared to suggest that Woodley’s pursuit of gold was finished, it turns out that may not be the case thanks to the work of a fan.
Recalling an interaction with a supporter, “The Chosen One” claimed that their words have encouraged him to re-consider another push for championship glory.
“One fan came up to me and said, ‘Man, I want you to bring us one more belt.’ And I never thought about that,” Woodley stated. “And I said, ‘Alright.’ So I gotta find some place where I can win a championship. It makes sense. It’s gotta be a big, big-ass fight though.”
Having previously appeared on the PFL Challenger Series as an expert analysis, as well as his praise for the unique promotion, perhaps we’ll be seeing the former UFC titleholder trading blows in the SmartCage soon enough.
If he were to commit to a full season on the welterweight roster in order to pursue the belt and $1 million prize, fans could even witness him going toe-to-toe with former Octagon opponent Rory MacDonald.
Should that not tickle his fancy, Woodley has made his desire to test his abilities as a Muay Thai fighter clear, so perhaps a venture into a new discipline inside ONE Championship’s Circle could await him.
Or, with the increasing presence of MMA-related figures in AEW, maybe a professional wrestling title is in Woodley’s future.
Do you think Tyron Woodley has what it takes to win another championship in combat sports?