Woodley (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) is projected to face Covington this fall, and while no date has been finalized, he assures everyone that the fight is happening.
He was initially offered to face Covington (15-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in the UFC’s Aug. 22 headliner, but the former champion asked for more time.
“(It) looks like I’m going to be fighting Colby Covington,” Woodley said on Mike Swick’s podcast. “The date, we’re waiting on right now. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be a main event – main event, ESPN+, me vs. Colby.”
The fight with Covington has been years in the making while the former training partners continue to trade barbs. A lot has been said by Covington, which has fueled Woodley to the same level of motivation as when he fought the likes of Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit and Darren Till.
He admits that in his last two decision losses to current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, the fire wasn’t there.
“This is a big fight for me,” Woodley said. “This is probably the biggest fight of my career, to be honest, because the situation – it’s like bragging rights. He’s talked all this (expletive), but in my mind, he really knows what time it is. But now that he has talked that much (expletive), now he’s got to try to live up to it. He’s got to try to beat me. He’s been calling me out for three, four years, damn near. So now it’s to the point where it’s personal and the other fights didn’t really mean as much.
“I feel like Usman and Gilbert are kind of goofy, and I really didn’t feel no animosity towards them. But I feel that with Colby. Some of the other guys, I felt the urgency because of how good they were. Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler, those guys are the OGs. ‘The Natural Born Killer,’ ‘Ruthless,’ ‘Gorilla,’ all these different monstrous fighters that I got to bring it to them because they sure as (expletive) are going to bring it to me. I think Colby’s going to bring me that, that first time I get the opponent at the press conference, we’re probably just going to break the internet, to be honest.”
While there might be plenty of bad blood between the two of them, Woodley acknowledges Covington’s pressure can pose problems and he can’t let that happen.
He thinks a definitive win over Covington will erase any doubt that stemmed from his first career losing skid.
“It is a hard fight just because of that. It’s a hard fight because of the pressure. It’s a hard fight because of all that’s at stake,” Woodley said. “It’s a hard fight because he wants to prove that he can beat me, and this is his whole brand. His entire brand is wrapped around me.
“There’s enough people that want me to hurt him so bad that if I do it, now I’m a hero. We’re not even talking about losing two fights in a row. We’re talking about the kid that finally took care of Colby Covington. Usman really didn’t take care of him. He won, but had he not dropped him twice, Usman probably would have lost that fight.”