Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley revealed to Heavy he’s not buying any of the common narratives in combat sports that would suggest he’s already seen the best days of his fighting career.
Never mind the two straight losses.
Never mind him being 38 years old.
Never mind him having been as wildly successful outside the Octagon as in it.
Never mind that he’s already rich, famous and probably set for life.
Woodley believes he was created for this specific vocation in life, and that he’ll get back into the win column against Colby Covington in the main event of the next UFC Fight Night card on Saturday night at UFC APEX in Las Vegas because of it.
“I know you’re not trying to paint that narrative, but the question and the way you ask it is kind of setting things up like I’ve got too many things going on…,” Woodley said.
“It’s not hard for me to get up [for a fight]. This is what I do. This is what I was created for.”
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Woodley: ‘I’m the Best I’ve Ever Been’
Woodley is coming off two straight losses but the former champ said he feels like he’s the best fighter he’s ever been right now.
Woodley defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in 2016 to capture UFC gold. He was unbeaten in his next four fights before losing his welterweight crown to Kamaru Usman via five-round decision at UFC 235 in March 2019.
Usman was surprisingly dominant in the contest.
“The Kamaru Usman fight was just one of those out of body experiences,” Woodley said. “I never felt like I was really there.”
Woodley climbed back into the cage in May 2020 only to suffer the same fate to top-ranked contender Gilbert Burns.
“The Gilbert Burns fight I was there. I was really prepared for the fight. I just really feel I just ran out of time.”
Regardless, Woodley said fans should expect to see the best version of the popular American come fight night.
“To be honest, I feel like right now, I’m the best I’ve ever been,” Woodley said.
Woodley Believes Balance Is Key
Woodley said achieving success was all about the balance between his personal and professional life. He said he’s as focused as ever now and feels like his life outside the cage is as supportive to him winning inside of it as it has ever been.
“I feel like I have balance in my life and in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it,” Woodley said. “It’s always been important.”
Woodley said he knows that because it hasn’t always been the case.
“There have been times throughout my career when my life was in shambles personally,” said Woodley. “I had all these things going on in my life but nobody would know because all we care about is the iceberg.”
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Woodley then went on to explain his iceberg metaphor.
“All people know about is what they see,” Woodley said. “But we don’t really care or even know what’s really going on.”
Woodley Knows Biggest Enemy is Himself
But Woodley said those hard times in his life have prepared him to be the best fighter that he has ever been.
“I think that if I was able to function during that time period with things out of place in my life…then I feel like I’m even more of a deadly force,” Woodley said.
Moreover, Woodley said he’s excited to see what his full potential is inside the Octagon.
“I really never fully opened up in any fight…there were moments where I saw something but didn’t go,” Woodley said.
As dominant a force as any in welterweight history, the idea that Woodley could somehow become even better than he has been before is a scary thought for the rest of the division and an exciting one for fans and media.
Regardless, Woodley knows it all comes down to one thing: self-mastery.
“So my fight isn’t against Colby,” Woodley said. “It’s not against what he stands for. It’s against Tyron Woodley. It’s against Tyron Woodley hesitating. It’s against Tyron Woodley not doing what he’s capable of.”
The Only Narrative Woodley Cares About Is His Own
And as for those common narratives in combat sports, for example, the idea that fighters that have too much going on outside the sport are far less prepared for what happens inside it, Woodley dismissed that idea, too.
“Me doing other things…I’ve always been a pioneer,” Woodley said.
Podcasts. TV shows. Commercials. Movies. As noted above, Woodley has been as successful outside the sport as he is in it.
“I’ve always shown I’ve been a revolutionary in the way that I think, and me being 38 years old has no bearing on my abilities, skills, speed, timing, or IQ,” Woodley said. “It wouldn’t be hard for someone to get up and go practice law or something at even 67 years old if that’s what they were created for.”
So Woodley isn’t buying any of the narratives out there that suggest he could be on his way out of the sport.
“It’s not my narrative,” Woodley said. “My narrative is being who I am, which is something I’ve always done.”
Instead, the former champ plans to continue writing his story the only way he knows how. Woodley wants to just keep on being himself, and history shows he has done great things already just doing that.
“That’s what I focused on during this training camp, and I feel like I’m in a great position to do what I was created to do.”
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