As the UFC continues to scramble to find a main event for the upcoming UFC 233 pay-per-view card in Anaheim, plans were in motion to put together a title fight between champion Tyron Woodley and top ranked contender Colby Covington.
Unfortunately, Woodley is still recovering from thumb surgery following his last fight against Darren Till, which means he probably won’t be ready in time to compete as early as January.
Meanwhile, Covington has been adamant that he’s not going to face anybody else but Woodley after he won the interim welterweight title in June only to have it stripped away three months later when he was unable to fight in September at UFC 228.
It’s left the UFC without many options for the January pay-per-view and White was obviously frustrated when talking about the situation with TSN on Thursday.
“Tell me when Woodley does want to fight. This is always an issue with Woodley,” White said when asked about Woodley delaying his return to action. “We’re going to move on. That division is stacked. We’ve got a lot of good talent and whether Woodley fights or doesn’t, we’ll end up making a fight with some of the best guys in that division.”
White then addressed the possibility of another interim welterweight title being introduced in Woodley’s absence.
“Could be [an interim title],” White said about filling the void with Woodley unable to compete in January.
While an interim title sounds possible, White didn’t sound all that enthusiastic when addressing Covington’s standing in the division right now either.
Covington only wants to face Woodley while the UFC has already offered an alternate fight against Kamaru Usman, who is fresh off a dominant win over Rafael dos Anjos.
The problem for Covington is he would be duplicating what he just went through six months ago with an interim title on the line and no guarantees that he would actually get to face Woodley later in the year.
“That’s up to him. I could care less what his reservations are,” White said about Covington. “You either want to be a world champion or you don’t. If you get the opportunity in this business, you need to take it immediately. He had the opportunity to fight Woodley, he should have took it, he didn’t. We’ll see if he steps up and takes another opportunity.”
Right now no decisions have been made as the UFC continues to hunt for a marquee fight to headline the Jan. 26 card in Anaheim.