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UFC 235: Tyron Woodley talks about being a champion, upcoming fight against Kamaru Usman

Tyron Woodley has transformed himself into one of the biggest names in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division in the last couple of years.

other sports Updated: Mar 01, 2019 19:35 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UFC 235,Tyron Woodley,Tyron Woodley UFC
A file photo of Tyron Woodley.(Twitter)

Tyron Woodley has transformed himself into one of the biggest names in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division in the last couple of years, and considering his brilliant run of form, he will be the favourite against Kamaru Usman in UFC 235 on Sunday.

Woodley won the welterweight title back in 2016 after he defeated Robbie Lawler in UFC 201 and with successful title defences against Stephen Thompson, Demain Maia and Darren Till, he has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with. Since winning the title, he has produced a number of brilliant performances and the 36-year-old believes that he has evolved a lot as a champion.

“I’m definitely a more confident fighter now. It is not just confidence because I won it but because of the preparation I have had. I’ve had a lot of different opportunities to prepare for different opponents and we go to the Octagon each time as a team - the coaching staff and me as a fighter. I think I have earned that confidence and I feel like I am just getting better,” Woodley told Hindustan Times.

While Woodley has established himself as one of the most dangerous fighters in his weight division, his opponent – Usman – will not be a pushover. Usman is a small +130 underdog when it comes to betting odds and he is also riding a 13-bout winning streak that includes a perfect 9-0 mark since joining the UFC in 2017.

When asked about his opponent, Woodley was not ready to make any direct comments about the Nigerian fighter but said that the joy of a fight lies in figuring out the fighter.

“A fighter definitely grows with every fight and it is actually like solving another Rubik’s cube with every fight. Everybody has a different cube, some of them I can finish in a few minutes and some of them I have to go 4 or 5 rounds to figure out,” he explained.

Woodley has talked quite openly about changing weight divisions in the future and in a recent interview, he made it clear that he will go after both the 165 and 175 belts, and perhaps even make a run at the 185-pound belt currently held by Robert Whittaker as well.

However, Woodley is completely focused on his upcoming fight and believes that if he retains the belt, his likely opponent will be the former interim champion Colby Covington.

“When I win, I will wait to see who the UFC has for me. If that is Colby I will see what is next,” he said.

Watch UFC 235 Live and Exclusively on Sony Six and Sony Six HD channels on 3rd March 2019 at 8.30 am

First Published: Mar 01, 2019 19:34 IST