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Usman: Tyron Woodley should emulate Gilbert Burns, stop ‘wasting time’ with championship mentality

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UFC Hong Kong Wing Chun Gym Visit Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, hasn’t competed since losing his 170-pound strap to current division titleholder, Kamaru Usman, in the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event back in March 2019.

After much stalling (and a lot of complaining), Woodley finally agreed to make his return at UFC London, an event that fell apart when coronavirus shut down most of the world. In the weeks that followed, it was right back to the same old Woodley.

“The only way for you to get back to the title is just to fight,” Usman told MMA Fighting. “This whole situation has kind of thrown a damper on things, but I feel like Tyron is holding himself back for god knows what. This whole pick and choose who you want, this and that, that’s not working for you. Because the only thing you’re wasting is time.”

Woodley seems to believe that Leon Edwards had just one shot to compete against “The Chosen One” and lost that opportunity once UFC London got canceled. In fact, Woodley was adamant he’ll only make his Octagon return against Colby Covington.

“The difference is Tyron is still hanging onto that mentality of being a champion and being accustomed to a certain kind of treatment,” Usman said. “You’re not in that situation. You’ve got to approach it like Gilbert [Burns] is approaching it. You want to put someone in front of me, it’s an opportunity to make some money and knock somebody out. That’s why Gilbert has ascended the way that he has.”

Burns rocketed to No. 6 in the welterweight rankings by winning five straight in less than two years by not only accepting every fight that came his way, but by proactively looking for opponents on social media, which in turn helped rally the fans.

Sounds like Woodley could learn a thing or two from “Durinho.”