UFC 260 saw Tyron Woodley fight the most entertaining fight since Sept. 2018, where he battered Darren Till around the cage before submitting him late in the second round with a slick D’Arce choke. That also happened to be his last win. In early 2019, he dropped his belt to Kamaru Usman in one-sided fashion, and it’s all been downhill from there. Including that fight, a gun shy “T-Wood” went and lost all 15 rounds in the three five round bouts he was in.
Last night (Sat., March 27, 2021) didn’t go much better for him on paper: it saw Vicente Luque stop him 3:56 into the first round. But, it marked a return to action, or perhaps it’s better described as a complete change in strategy. Gone was the patient counterstriker who was ready to uncork a big overhand right the moment an opponent stepped within range. Instead, Woodley went hard from the second the opening bell rang, flying with Jorge Masvidal-like intensity at Luque.
While Luque managed to slow down the pace some in the clinch and up against the cage, Woodley took every opportunity he had to separate and start swinging hard. This was some swang n’ bang fighting we hadn’t seen from Woodley since his early Strikeforce days. And he caught Luque a couple of times, hurting the tough “Silent Assassin.” Unfortunately, anything can happen in a gunfight and Luque managed to catch Woodley during an exchange, hurting him badly and putting him on stanky legs.
Woodley earned a lot of credit from fans for managing to stay upright as Luque continued to headhunt him, hurting him badly multiple times. In the end, Luque had to switch strategies and go for a Brabo choke to finish Woodley, the tough old goat. It was a wild fight, a worthy $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus, and it injected an extra shot of adrenaline into a UFC 260 card just before the big Miocic vs. Ngannou title fight.
But, it left Woodley in a strange place. According to ESPN, this fight was the last on Woodley’s current UFC contract. Now sitting at four straight losses, it’s questionable as to whether UFC will look to pick him up.
Woodley didn’t mention any of that in his statement released shortly after the fight.
“S—t was going really well until it wasn’t,” Woodley wrote on Instagram. “My camp pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed in a while. I committed, and swore to myself I would bring the tiger out that earned me gold. I saw the opportunity for the KO and got too excited. Payed a big cost.”
“I don’t regret my aggression as that’s what God created me to do. Vicente is a tough and humble fighter. Was an honor to share the cage with you tonight.”
As for Dana White, the man who makes most of the calls regarding the futures of UFC fighters like Woodley?
“How old’s Tyron now? 39? 39,” White said during the UFC 260 post-fight press conference. “That’s four in a row … yeah.”
But it wasn’t all bad.
“Woodley, who takes a lot of criticism – that kid came to fight tonight,” White said. “He went out on his shield tonight. He came in to fight.”
At least he’ll leave UFC with an extra $50k in his pocket and free reign to go wherever he wants should he wish to continue his career. And if he keeps fighting like he did on Saturday night, I’d be happy to see more.
For complete UFC 260 results and coverage click here.