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Tyron Woodley won’t be fighting Leon Edwards because he’s a GOAT, not a gatekeeper

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UFC Fight Night: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Tyron Woodley hasn’t competed since losing his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in a lopsided affair at UFC 235 (see it again here).

A lot of his inactivity has to do with the fact that the right fight hasn’t come along, in particular a rematch against “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Granted, “The Chosen One” was booked to rematch Robbie Lawler, but after Tyron suffered an injury, “Ruthless” was then booked to face Colby Covington.

Still, fighting a man he previously knocked out wasn’t all that titillating for Woodley to begin with. Neither is a fight against top 170-pounder, Leon Edwards. And it’s not because “Rocky” isn’t a talented foe, but because Woodley is a G.O.A.T and not a gatekeeper that is here to let rising contenders build their names off his.

“I don’t have to fight Leon Edwards,” Tyron Woodley said on Brendan Schaub’s “Food Truck Diaries (via BJPenn.com). “Leon Edwards is trying to build his name, and I ain’t a gatekeeper for someone to build their name off.”

It was recently announced that Usman would defend his title against Covington in the main event of UFC 245 on Dec. 14 in Las Vegas after months of back-and-forth bickering between UFC and “Chaos.”

With that title fight set, Tyron will be an interested observer since he’s gunning for the winner.

“Why wouldn’t I fight Colby [Covington]? Why wouldn’t I fight Usman?,” Tyron Woodley said. “Fights like that excite me. Leon Edwards, he’s a beast. I covered his fights. He’s really good, he’s really sharp, he’s really accurate, he’s really humble.”

To better explain it, Woodley says a fight against Edwards would make sense if he was still the champion and Leon worked his way up to him. Other than that, he’s not interested.

“I don’t mind that, though, when somebody is really good,” Woodley added. “Like [Darren] Till was very good, that geared me up, that geared me up to get ready to go. Leon Edwards is a fight that, if I was fighting him as champion and he came up, It would be like let’s go. It was always the passing of the torch,” he said.

“Like I used to be Leon Edwards; I used to be Till. Now it got to be the point where I was the guy on the throne. I had a million red dots on me. Everyone wanted to fight me, and I think a rematch with Usman makes sense, also a fight with Colby makes sense.”

Of course, Tyron is not guaranteed the winner of Usman vs Covington, as Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will look to make a case for their shot at the title — no, not this one — when they collide in the main event of UFC 244 on Nov. 2.

So while one can understand Tyron’s urgency to get back to a title fight, waiting around for the outcome of these two bouts could have him sitting out for a full year — if not longer — if things don’t pan out his way.