What Happened to Tyron Woodley?: The Downfall of a Champion

Published 03/24/2021, 3:11 PM EDT


Tyron Woodley will fight Vicente Luque in the co-main event of the UFC 260 pay-per-view. Woodley is currently on a 3-fight skid. Yet another loss could very well bring the curtains to his UFC career. The former champion will have an extra chip on his shoulders when steps into the Octagon this weekend.

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‘The Chosen One’ seems to have lost his explosive movement when he fights. That was key to utilizing his vicious power for knocking opponents out cold earlier in his career. However, his recent backing up against the fence style hasn’t worked in his favor at all.

Here we take a look at the trajectory of Tyron Woodley’s entire UFC career, from the beginning to his championship reign and his recent dip.

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Scrutiny of Tyron Woodley’s early UFC career

‘T-Wood’ joined the UFC on the back of his first loss as a professional against Nate Marquardt. However, a knockout win over Jay Hieron at UFC 156, in 2013, set the tone right for his UFC career. A split decision loss against Jake Shields at UFC 161 followed.

But a vicious knockout of Josh Koscheck and a leg-kick T/Ko against Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Conditt set him up for a clash against Rory MacDonald. ‘Red King’ handed Woodley a decision loss.

A vicious finish over Dong Hyun Kim and a split decision win over Kelvin Gastelum handed the former Strikeforce fighter his first shot at the UFC welterweight championship.

Tyron Woodley becomes UFC champion and dominates the welterweight division

Woodley fought ‘Ruthless‘ Robbie Lawler for the undisputed gold at UFC 201. A spectacular knockout finish saw him crowned the new kingpin of the UFC’s 170 lbs division. ‘The Chosen One’ fought to a draw against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 in his first title defense.

Yet another close fight against ‘Wonderboy’ in their rematch at UFC 209, saw Woodley defend his belt by a majority decision. Another decision win over Brazilian submission wizard Demian Maia marked his third successful title defense.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 30: Tyron Woodley battles Gilbert Burns in a welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Woodley submitted Darren Till at UFC 228 in what was probably the most spectacular performance of his championship reign in the UFC. His previous fights brought some criticism from the fans as they marked the champion as ‘boring’. However, he shut those claims altogether by showing Till he was on a different level than the Liverpool native.

Tyron Woodley’s losing streak

Woodley was set to defend his title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 235. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare‘ was a promising fighter and was on the back of a 9 fight winning streak in the promotion. However, many expected Woodley to get the better of Usman.

But that was clearly not the case as Usman dominated the champion for the full 25 minutes and took his belt in the process. Woodley did almost nothing in the fight and looked switched-off. Props have to be given to Usman as well, who has proven since his win was no fluke.

After a lay-off of over a year, the former champion returned to face Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns. Woodley was looking to earn a title shot with a win in his return. But once again, he got dominated for the full 25 minutes. Burns caught him early with a solid punch and dropped ‘The Chosen One’. ‘Durinho‘ dominated the former champion for the full 5 rounds.

Woodley was back looking for vengeance against bitter rival Colby Covington in September 2020. Many believed his feud with ‘Chaos‘ could reignite the fire in him and bring out his best version in the process.

However, despite a better start than his previous outings, Woodley started to fade in the later rounds and eventually lost by T/KO in the fifth round because of a rib injury.

Is Tyron Woodley finished as a UFC fighter?

Woodley is currently 38-years-old and has clearly lost significant steam off his tank. However, power doesn’t go away easily, and he still possesses his fight-changing trait. ‘T-Wood’ hasn’t been able to put it to display in his last 3 contests.

Vicente Luque is a dangerous opponent in his own merit. And a messy outing will result in yet another defeat for the former welterweight kingpin. So, Woodley needs to turn back the clock and bring out his vintage savage version if he is to return to winning ways and save his career in the process.

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The Chosen One‘ is more than capable of doing that. It’s always hard to count out a fighter like him. But fame, money, and his rapping career clearly took a toll on him as a fighter. He hasn’t done almost any media obligations leading up to this fight. So, one might expect ‘T-Wood’ is completely switched on.

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Whether that’s enough for him to get a win against Luque remains to be seen. What do you think? What’s the biggest reason for his skid? Let us know.

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Apratim Banerjee

740 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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