UFC on ESPN+ 36 takes place tonight at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In the main event bout, former interim UFC welterweight champion Colby Covington faces his former teammate and long-time nemesis, ex-welterweight kingpin, Tyron Woodley.
These two have had issues since Woodley brought Covington into his camp as a sparring partner. Woodley was on his way to becoming the UFC welterweight champion. Covington had yet to join the UFC roster. The two have differing views of how things went sour between them.
On Saturday, Covington and Woodley get to settle whatever differences still exist between them inside the octagon.
Woodley said of his opponent, “I’m definitely going to punch Colby in the face. Punch him, kick him, knee him, elbow him, knock him out, submit him, wake him up, knock him out again,” Woodley said on TMZ. “Then sweep him off the mat with no handshake. Definitely going to punch Colby Covington and I hate to even (say) his name because he doesn’t even deserve to be on our show. But, he’s getting a punch in the face.”
Woodley won the welterweight title in 2016 with a knockout over Robbie Lawler. He defended the title four times before losing to Kamaru Usman in 2019. Woodley’s most recent outing ended with a decision loss to Gilbert Burns. That setback put the former champion on the first losing skid of his 25-fight career.
Despite Woodley’s losing skid, Covington is taking the fight seriously.
“Yeah, definitely I can’t look at the odds, that’s not going to be reflective of what the fight is going to be like and how close the fight could be,” Colby Covington said to TSN. “If I look at the odds, it just looks like it’s going to be a cakewalk and I’m just going to walk through him. Realistically, that’s not what it’s going to be. This is a heated rivalry, this is a genuine beef, this isn’t a manufactured beef. We want to rip each other heads off.”
Covington has achieved a great deal since he joined the UFC in 2014. He opened his UFC career on an 8-1 run. In his 10th bout with the promotion, Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos to become the interim welterweight champion. The UFC later stripped Covington of that title when he could not accept a title unification bout with Woodley in 2018 due to nose surgery. Covington is 1-1 since the UFC stripped him of the interim crown. He defeated ex-champion Robbie Lawler in 2019. In his most recent outing, current welterweight champion, Usman scored a fifth-round TKO win over Covington.
Covington is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the official UFC welterweight rankings. Woodley is ranked at No. 5.
Here is a look at how the two fighter match up.
UFC on ESPN+ 36 takes place on Saturday, September 19 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event streams on ESPN+.