Tyron Woodley lost the welterweight championship to Kamaru Usman via Unanimous Decision at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019, and was supposed to begin his march back towards a title shot vs. Leon Edwards at UFC London on March 21. Then COVID-19 happened.
Brazil's Gillbert Burns offered to step in on short notice for UFC London, and the fight is finally happening on May 30 in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 30 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, NV. Burns is a multiple time BJJ world champ in Gi and No Gi, and is on a five fight win streak in the UFC, the last three after moving up from lightweight to welterweight. In his last fight, he TKO'd Demian Maia in half a round.
Woodley talked about the fight on the latest episode of his Hollywood Beatdown show on TMZ Sports.
“What I like about this matchup for me is that it’s a five-round fight,” said Woodley, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I don’t know if he’s ever fought a five-round fight, but it’s different. It’s different than trying to come out and explode. He goes out there and he either explodes in the first two rounds and then starts to fade in the third or he explodes in first round, the second round is kinda crazy, and then he just lets it all hang out in the third round. When you’re down 3-0 and I’m up three rounds and then you come out and get picked apart in the fourth, then you’re left to desperation. You’re left to swing big and kick big and go for takedowns and I think if anybody in the UFC is gonna have an eyeball to see that s*** from a mile away, get out the way, and sting you with some shots, it’s me.”
“It’s always short-term memory. People only remember you for your last outing and it’s been so long ago, it’s time to remind them. . . I’m in a violent headspace. I don’t know another way to put it. I’m willing to do some very s***ty stuff to people, put them in compromising positions, hurt them. Literally, hurt them, not just go out there and try to get the win. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this focused during my stint in the UFC. I don’t know if I’ve been this ornery. Today I was yelling and cursing at my sparring partners. That’s how I know I’m peaking at the right time. That’s how I know I’m ready to go.”
“You can’t miss this. This is going to be a clear case of someone asking for something they didn’t really know what they were asking for. I’m gonna let the person talk but when we get in there in the Octagon, the performance I put on is going to be crazy. I’m gonna be talking s*** to him, I’m gonna be pushing him in the face, I’m gonna be punching him, I’m going to deny every takedown, every scramble, and I’m gonna leave him out there and it’s gonna be like, ‘F***, why did the UFC match him up with this dude? That’s a mismatch. That ain’t even fair.’ People are gonna feel bad for him.”