Kamaru Usman knows that reigning welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has talked a lot about eventually pursuing a second world title in the UFC at 185 pounds.
Woodley contemplated moving up in weight for a showdown against Michael Bisping when he was champion and he’s talked about it again recently when the matchup between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum was scheduled.
Woodley is a massive fighter competing at welterweight and he knows there would probably be less strain on his body if he was competing at 185 pounds.
Well, Usman says he’s more than happy to send Woodley packing to the middleweight division after UFC 235 but he’s going to have to leave something behind when he goes.
“I believe that he wants to move on and that’s fine,” Usman said ahead of his showdown with Woodley. “On March 2 after I win the belt, you can move up to middleweight, you don’t have to cut weight anymore, you’re in the latter part of your career and you’re starting to kind of wind down.
“I completely agree with him on that if he wants to go to middleweight. On March 2, you have to pass me that title first.”
“On March 2 after I win the belt, you can move up to middleweight,” ~ Kamaru Usman to Tyron Woodley
Usman also questions if maybe being champion is starting to get to Woodley already as it has done with other fighters in the past.
Former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre often talked about the constant pressure he dealt with as champion and he eventually surrendered his title before taking a four-year sabbatical from the sport.
There have been other champions who have also wilted under the strain that holding onto that title can bring and Usman is happy to relieve Woodley of those duties when they clash this weekend.
“He wants to move up,” Usman said about Woodley. “Tyron is in his mid to late 30’s, he’s been fighting for a long time, he’s been competing for a long time. The same as I have been. There’s a lot of pressures that come with being champion and being champion for a while. There’s a lot of pressures.
“You saw it with Anderson Silva where he almost had that release when he got defeated, it’s almost like he felt better. You saw it with Georges St-Pierre, he had to leave the game because of it. There’s that release.”
Usman promises that he’ll be a model champion once he has that belt and then Woodley can continue his career at 185 pounds where he’ll be much healthier and happier.
Will Kamaru Usman pull it off and defeat Tyron Woodley to become welterweight champion at UFC 235? Sound off in the comments and let us know!