Since Usman captured his UFC title in dominant fashion over Woodley in 2019, their careers have taken wildly different trajectories. Usman has gone on to defend his belt four times, and looking better with each fight, has truly become a “Nigerian Nightmare” for the 170-pound division. The 34-year-old recently deposed Jon Jones as the UFC’s pound-for-pound king and will look to extend his win-streak to 15 fights when he faces Colby Covington on November 6.
Woodley, on the other hand, has gone from being one of the greatest UFC welterweight champs of all time, to fighting—and losing—to YouTuber Jake Paul. Not only that, the 39-year-old suffered the further indignity of permanently inking his love for Paul in a vain attempt to secure a rematch.
Usman Says Woodley Isn’t Returning Respect, Takes Dig At Jake Paul Tattoo
Usman hasn’t taken any pleasure in witnessing his former rival’s fall from grace, however.
When asked by Daniel Cormier about Woodley’s decision to have “I love Jake Paul” tattooed on his finger, Kamaru said it saddened him to see the former champ stoop to such a low, and that much of the blame for Woodley’s sorry situation is being levelled at him.
“Come on, man. Come on. It is sad, to where every time this man competes, everyone blames me for the outcome. I get mad blame and a lot of hate on Twitter and Instagram about it, that, ‘Oh, this is your fault. This is your fault. You did this to him. You did this to him. This is your fault.’ I like Tyron. Has there ever been a place where you saw me disrespect Tyron?
“I’ve always shown Tyron the utmost respect as a champion, as a black man, as a father. I’ve always shown him that ultimate respect. But for some reason, that doesn’t reciprocate from Tyron. It doesn’t reciprocate at all,” said Usman.
Considering Woodley’s former status as a super dominant welterweight champ, the four-fight skid that ended his UFC career was perhaps one of the swiftest and most devastating downfalls in the franchise’s history. Kamaru offered his critique of perhaps why Woodley failed to ever recover from losing his belt.
“As a champion who has suffered defeat, even in college, even in wrestling, you should know how to bounce back. And you should know that, ‘I have to overcome that. I have to let that go, make amends with that, fix the mistakes, and get back to the bag.’ And that’s just something that I feel like he hasn’t done,” said Usman.
While Woodley may end his career on a five-fight losing streak, including a loss to a social media influencer, at least we can say “The Chosen One” has made bags of in the process. Or, can we?
“So why’d he get the tattoo?” said Usman when Cormier suggested Woodley made bank with his last fight. “You gotta get it in writing. It don’t mean nothing if you don’t have it in writing. Ask Deontay Wilder.”
What do you think? Does Tyron Woodley’s downfall lay at the feet of Kamaru Usman—or himself?