Tyron Woodley’s latest title defense against Darren Till at UFC 228 earlier this month has drawn comparisons to some of the best welterweights ever to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, including Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre.
Woodley’s head coach -- who is also his grappling coach and awarded the welterweight champion with his black belt after the fight -- was a recent guest on The MMA Hour. He spoke about how his fighter, who now has four title defenses and has defeated some of the best the division has to offer, is edging ever closer to becoming the best welterweight of all-time.
“I think, at this point, I’m going to have to say second,” Thomas said. “Like you said, I think his résumé speaks for itself, when you think of the guys that he has beaten, even in his come-up, between like Carlos Condit, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler. He’s beaten all those guys. But I think that a couple more title defenses will solidify his position. I think that’s all he needs. A win over Colby -- to me, I think Colby’s an easy opponent, to be honest with you, but just on the résumé he kinda needs that just so he can have more title defenses -- and maybe even Usman, but if he gets those two then he’s the best of all-time.”
While Woodley has established himself as the best welterweight in the world, he still has some way to go if he is going to catch St-Pierre, who defended his title a welterweight record nine times. The path to his fifth defense appears to go through Covington, though the matchup has been postponed twice now. The pair had been scheduled to meet at UFC 228, but nasal surgery forced “Chaos” to withdraw, leading to Till’s title shot. Woodley injured his thumb in the fight against Till, requiring surgery which will shelve the “Chosen One” for 2-3 months.
While it is well-documented that former teammates Woodley and Covington don’t like each other, Thomas believes when they eventually meet early next year it’ll be an easy match up for the champion.
“He doesn’t have anything that’s dangerous to Tyron,” Thomas explained. “He doesn’t have the ability to knock him out with one punch if Tyron slips. He doesn’t have the ability to choke Tyron out — to play ‘take him down, take his back, choke him out.’ I don’t think he has that ability. The way Colby can win that fight is to obviously grind him out, and I don’t think he can outwrestle Tyron to get up to that point. So to me, that’s just kind of an easier matchup.”