Tyron Woodley really came around to the idea of fighting his rival Colby Covington, but it looks like the welterweight champ’s also pretty pumped to fight Darren Till.
For months there was talk about Woodley and Covington fighting, largely due to the latter’s claims he had bested the champ during training sessions at ATT. At first, Woodley dismissed the notion “Chaos” deserved to fight for the belt. But, after Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos to secure the interim belt, Woodley relayed he was extremely motivated to throw hands with the controversial fighter.
But, since Covington recently underwent nasal surgery, Till has been tapped to fight Woodley at UFC 228, September 9th. Although it’s a match-up not too many people were expecting just a few weeks ago, Woodley’s pretty, pretty down for the contest. Case in point, while speaking to the media recently, Woodley had this to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Sometimes, it just takes that young fighter to remind you so much of yourself, when I was that hungry guy calling out everybody – to just relight that flame. Our sport has a way of teeter-tottering. Our fans are up and down, and sometimes the emotion can get taken out. Sometimes the politics are too much, the demands, the pressure – what it takes to be a champion is much more than winning a five-round fight.
“But when you’ve got this young fighter who wants to take what you’ve built your whole career … He reminds me a lot of myself, because he really believes it. Some guys talk – they say what they think you want to hear. He believes it. He believes he can beat me, he believes he’s the best welterweight, and that’s the fighter I want to fight.”
“…I’m excited about the challenge – very worthy opponent. Young, spunky, wants the title real bad, and he’s going to make me train. I’ve been training like a damned maniac.”
There you have it. While this fight doesn’t have the backstory and beef that Woodley – Covington does, it’s a fascinating match-up nonetheless.
How will Woodley deal with the size and range of Till? How will the latter deal with Woodley’s pressure and wrestling? There’s no doubt that Till hasn’t faced someone in the Octagon who has the wrestling pedigree that Woodley has. But, will the champ look to take it down?
UFC 228 will take place in Dallas, Texas, at American Airlines Center.