Tyron Woodley fights Colby Covington - at last - in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 36 on September 19, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Woodley is coming off back to back losses for the first time in his career, to Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, and despises his former ATT teammate "Chaos". So there is a lot riding on the fight.
During a recent appearance on The Ariel Helwani Show, Woodley said he's finding inspiration from Jorge Masvidal. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and both Woodley and Masvidal loathe Covington. But Woodley has moved away from training at ATT headquarters in Coconut Creek, Florida, and now trains at his ATT Evolution in St. Louis with former ATT coach Din Thomas, and at Roufusport. The latter gym is home to Ben Askren, who does exchange Christmas cards with Masvidal.
“So before Masvidal even came here, I called Ben and said ‘I’m gonna train with Jorge for this fight. He wants to come out, he wants to help me, he wants to work with me. It benefits him as much as it does me, to be honest, but I’m not gonna turn down this deal. I don’t know how you feel about it.’ But I can’t make his enemy my enemy," said Woodley. "And you’ve heard Ben talk about it, Ben’s really not an enemy to him. He did what he needed to do to build the fight, it happened the way it happened, but it happens. Sometimes you get f***ed up, you get knocked out. We’ve all had it happen and if you haven’t had it happen to you—unless you’re Khabib—you’re gonna have it happen to you.
“So I started training with [Masvidal] and he has such a good time that he said, ‘You know what, I’ve had such a good time that I’m gonna go home for a day or two and then come back out,’ and he came back out. We’re just iron sharpening iron.”
“When he reached out, I said, ‘Hell yeah, let’s get him in.’” It’s really solid because you’ve got two dudes who are the same. We both came from the gutter when you think about it and we both found a way to stick with it and we’ve had a long career because of our IQ and because we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations in training so that we can thrive in the Octagon. And I want to see him do well. I want to see him continue to make the money, do what he wants to do, and he wants to see me back on top.”
“We had several conversations even before this happened: ‘Tyron, get your head straight. My head was f***ed up and now I cleared it up, look what happened. Till, Ben, da da da, I went on a run. You’ve got to do the same thing,'" related Woodley." So he kinda gave me the motivation and accountability because I didn’t want to let him down. He hit me up personally about a year and a half ago and told me there were some toxic things in my life that I needed to erase, and I’ve erased those things and now I can breathe, now I can float. Now I’m back, and it feels good, and I’ve really got to thank him for that.”