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Tyron Woodley: ‘I’m still the champion in my mind’

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Tyron Woodley just pulled a Joanna Jedrzejczyk and declared himself UFC champion, despite losing — badly — to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235. I don’t know what they teach fighters over at ATT but hey, whatever keeps you motivated.

If “The Chosen One” wants to prove he’s still the top fighter in the division, he’ll have to actually fight. Woodley hasn’t competed since coughing up his crown to “The Nigerian Nightmare” in March 2019, despite a fairly wide-open field.

“At this point, I’m willing to fight anybody because at the end of the day everybody’s good, everybody’s tough, and when you’re the champion you don’t get a chance to pick who you fight,” Woodley told TMZ Sports (transcribed by Damon Martin). “So right now I feel like I had a bad night, but I’m still the champion in my mind. I’ve still got the mentality, I’ve still got the skillset, so I’ve got to align where my mind’s at to actually getting back to that belt. So whatever fights get me to that belt, that’s what I’m doing.”

Woodley (19-4-1), who turned 38 just last week, is no stranger to extended layoffs. After turning away Demian Maia at UFC 217, “The Chosen One” spent more than a year on the sidelines dealing with a wonky shoulder (and welterwhiners) before making his successful return at UFC 228.

UFC President Dana White was in favor of putting Woodley against Colby Covington but in light of the ever-growing logjam created by the wimpy media coronavirus pandemic, this is hardly the time to be selective when it comes to matchmaking.