Only a fighter can decide it's time to end a career. And as far as Tyron Woodley is concerned, he's not ready yet to hang up his gloves just yet despite what UFC President Dana White, and most MMA fans think.
The 38-year-old St. Louis native has, whether you like him or not, had some incredible battles across both UFC and Strikeforce. But for whatever the reason, even in Tyron Woodley's build up and his actual fight with Colby Covington, he has always had issues with the fans.
Most people that love Jiu-Jitsu defend it to the hilt. This is the same with fans of wrestling as well. Fans of neither use some off color terms to describe those arts. The fact of the matter is, if you look across every MMA organization, the far majority of their champions have a wrestling base.
The unanimous decision loss to Rory MacDonald back in 2014 lit a fire in Tyron Woodley and that carried him to winning the Welterweight strap. Fast forward seven fights later, and his impressive win over Darren Till should have continued to keep his momentum going.
But neither a fighter nor anyone on Earth gets to decide when their slide happens. Almost immediately after his loss to Kamaru Usman, Wood;ey seemed like a different fighter. He didn't engage, was on his back foot and with his back against the fence. And the same thing happened with Gilbert Burns, and then with Colby Covington. Woodley lost 15 consecutive rounds and that's a hard pill to swallow. Especially for someone oozing with pride.
Politics, and other distractions aside; if that's the way "The Chosen One" chooses to continue his career, only bad things will happen. When you fight like that at a younger age, you can bounce back. When you slow down and wait for your opponent to engage with you, and you spend clinches looking up at the clock, you won't last long. It increases the odds of getting carried out on a stretcher, or worse.
There are those that lose it all in a blink of an eye, and it seems looking back that's what happened with Kamaru Usman. Sadly, Tyron Woodley right now just has way too many holes in his game.
Yes, sometimes fighters hang on way too long and it's hard to watch when they were so much above average at one point. That's the reason why Dana White would like him to consider calling it a career.
However, Tyron Woodley at the hospital posted on Instagram that he wasn't ready to retire. Going live he said:
"I'm not retiring, I'm not giving up. I'm not switching up all my coaches. I'm not changing the continent I'm living on. I'm not doing all of that. Some s**t didn't happen and guess what? I don't know why it didn't happen. I did everything to make it happen. Now we just take a deep breath and see what happens next".
So if it is not retirement, what would be next for Tyron Woodley?
The options for Tyron Woodley are very slim right now. The rankings haven't come out yet, but it's a safe assumption that he won't be sitting at No. 5. This means the likes of Neil Magny, Geoff Neal, Michael Chiesa, and Vicente Luque will all move up as a result.
Tyron Woodley could square off with the man he took the Welterweight belt off, Robbie Lawler, who's in just about the same predicament he's in. He could fight his RoufuSport teammate, Anthony Pettis, especially since he splits his time with Din Thomas in Florida. Also, it's not like he's a tweener and can just slide into a different division.
UFC could just cut him, although that doesn't seem too likely. There's also another option. He could ask for his release and possibly rejoin forces with Scott Coker in Bellator. Tyron Woodley could, in theory, hang with most of their welterweights, even at this point in his career. But taking the title off Douglas Lima is not something that's probable.Published 22 Sep 2020, 07:04 IST