For Tyron Woodley fans, the outcome of Saturday’s main event was a bitter pill to swallow. For UFC President Dana White, this may have been a sign that the welterweight star should be retiring.
Woodley, 38, was en route to a one-sided decision loss in the UFC Vegas 11 headlining match against hated rival Colby Covington before sustaining a rib injury early in the fifth round that made him cry out in pain. Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly realized Woodley’s plight and stepped in to end the fight.
It was a daunting end to a lackluster performance for Woodley, with White admitting at the post-event press conference that the former UFC champion may soon be calling it a career.
“I think he should think about hanging it,”
White confirmed Woodley suffered a rib injury that resulted in a TKO win for Covington. It was Woodley’s third straight defeat and the second since he lost his UFC title to Kamaru Usman in March last year. In total, Woodley has unanimously lost 14 rounds in a row in his bouts with Usman, Gilbert Burns and Covington.
Before this difficult period, Woodley was unbeaten for four years, including four consecutive welterweight titles and wins against Darren Till, Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson and Robbie Lawler. White suggested that other business opportunities might have distracted Woodley, but otherwise he couldn’t pinpoint exactly where Woodley’s career as a fighter was going downhill.
“Look, I don’t want to have the whole press conference on Woodley, but Woodley had it all his career,” White said. “He’s going to come out and blow up a guy and whatever, and then have a fight where they’ll be on the fence for five rounds. I wouldn’t say this is shocking, that this has never happened before, but – I don’t know.
“Listen, we’re all getting older, it happens. It happens to the best of us. But Woodley had a good career. He was a champion, he’s been here for a while and also had a good run in Strikeforce. “
Most of all, White was disappointed that the ongoing bad blood between Covington and Woodley did not result in a gun battle that Covington and Usman produced at UFC 245. That bout was also a four round thriller that ended with Usman Covington breaking his jaw in fifth to reach the goal.
White believes that the grudge game between Covington and Woodley had the potential to match Covington’s final fight, but that fans at UFC APEX on Saturday didn’t get the best version of Woodley.
“It depended on what Woodley would show up,” White said. “Which Tyron Woodley would show up. Like I said, it should have been very similar to the Usman fight. But that wasn’t the tyron we got tonight. “