Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, made it very clear — as far back as last October — that he was not going to fight Leon Edwards, because a gatekeeper like “Rocky” didn’t deserve the rub.
He almost got away with it, too, as promotion president, Dana White, wanted “The Chosen One” to battle Colby Covington after “Chaos” came up short to Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 last month in December. A jaw injury ultimately zapped those plans, paving the way for Woodley vs. Edwards at UFC London.
Not that he had a choice.
“Tyron was trying to make excuses of why he shouldn’t come overseas and why he didn’t want to come to London,” Edwards told MMA Junkie. “The UFC had to force him into it. He would fight me or they were going to move him out of the rankings. He had no choice. He had to take the fight. He can’t wait out for a title shot because that’s not going to happen. It’s the only fight that makes sense for the division.”
Woodley (19-4-1) has not seen action since getting dominated by Usman in the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) main event back in March 2019, a lopsided decision loss that cost “The Chosen One” his 170-pound title.
Edwards (18-3), meanwhile, is coming off his unanimous decision win over former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, at the UFC San Antonio event last June. Topping the Brazilian improved his current win streak to eight, dating back to his Usman loss roughly four years ago.
As of this writing, Woodley remains the betting underdog for their March 21 main event.