Darren Till, and not Colby Covington as expected, will face Tyron Woodley next, and the welterweight champ continues to pile on his rival for not accepting a September 8th bout with him.
Since Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225 in June and secured the interim welterweight belt, everyone believed a bout with Woodley was a done deal. Especially since Covington has repeatedly trashed Woodley in the press, and there was some sizeable buzz tied to the match-up.
Well, because Covington reportedly, recently underwent surgery to address a nasal issue he could fight Woodley at UFC 228. So, the UFC tapped Till instead, and Woodley has since questioned whether Covington really wasn’t available to scrap.
More recently, Woodley was on hand at UFC 227 last weekend, and the powerful wrestler had this to say about “Chaos”, and his next opponent, Till (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“He’s (Covington) basically shown us he’s a (expletive), and he never really wanted to fight in the first place”
“…Now, it’s a different opponent (in Till), one that style-wise presents way more threats to me. Bigger, stronger, more powerful, hungrier, and actually means what he says. He doesn’t say much, but what he says he really means it.”
“What you think I should focus on? That terrible-ass (‘Make America Great Again’) hat (Covington) had on (at the White House), or this middleweight that’s going to kill himself trying to come down and take my belt?”
Now, does Woodley really believe Till is a more dangerous opponent? It’s hard to say. There’s no question that he’s a ridiculously dangerous striker, who is bigger and much rangier than Covington. But, the latter is an extremely good and experienced wrestler, where as Till’s wrestling hasn’t really been tested yet in the Octagon, by someone with the wrestling pedigree of Woodley.
If you’re curious, the betting lines currently have Woodley as the favorite, but not by that wide of a margin. The champ is carrying odds in the -122 to -140 range. Till is the underdog with odds in the +105 to +111 range, but one oddsmaker has the bout as almost even.
All this aside, it will be interesting to see when the welterweight title goes up for grabs again, after UFC 228, and whether Covington’s a lock for that fight. If the winner at UFC 228 emerges with a serious injury, you never know, the promotion might call on “Chaos’ to fight in the interim.