This weekend, UFC 235’s co-main event will see the welterweight title contested between champion Tyron Woodley and powerful challenger Kamaru Usman.
The welterweight title will be on the line as powerful 170lb-rs collide in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kamaru Usman in three words: Attrition, Athleticism, Relentless
Notable wins: Leon Edwards, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos
Highest high: Beating Rafael dos Anjos was the win that really made the UFC take notice of this guy’s championship potential. Sure, winning The Ultimate Fighter was a more-than-worthy highlight in the career of The Nigerian Nightmare but defeating a fighter of RDA’s credentials was what earned him the biggest fight of his life. Whether he can top that on Saturday with a win, remains to be seen.
Lowest low: Usman’s career has been a very impressive one up until this point so it’s not exactly possible to pinpoint one moment as a real ‘low’, although the entire ‘30%’ debacle resulted from a pretty poor choice of words.
Recent form: Usman has been seen as one of the most-ducked fighters on the UFC’s roster today for some time. His size, fighting-style, and athleticism make him a nightmare matchup for most guys – something that is evidenced by his ongoing 13-fight win-streak.
Tyron Woodley in three words: Composed, Explosive, Patient
Notable wins: Paul Daley, Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, Darren Till
Highest high: Finishing Darren Till at UFC 228 was a true high-point in the sense that the champ turned in a high-profile performance that showed him utilising every tool in his arsenal. Many had criticised Woodley for his methodical displays against the specialists Thompson and Maia – but when he was faced with a dangerous young striker in the form of the Liverpool-native, he rose to the occasion and answered his critics with a brutal beatdown.
Lowest low: It may have happened over six years ago but Nate Marquardt’s stunning destruction of the future UFC champion is still amongst the most vicious finishing combos you’re likely to ever play witness to.
— Cillian Cunningham (@CillianCMMA) February 27, 2019
Recent form: Considering the level of opposition he has been up against, Woodley’s current run has been nothing less than incredible. He beat the game’s most ferocious warrior, most technical striker, and its most credentialed BJJ practitioner before taking out the rising star that is Darren Till. On top of that, with four successful title defenses he is the longest-reigning champion in the promotion today.
What’s at stake? Knowing Tyron’s relationship with UFC president Dana White, if he loses, he will likely have to work incredibly hard to get a welterweight title-shot again. For Usman, the opportunity to take out the longest-reigning champion on the UFC’s roster would be a huge push for his P4P list debut.
Overall, Woodley has quite a lot more to lose here – even if we ignore the belt. He’ll be 37 in April and will likely be thinking about hanging up his gloves at some point in the next few years. I don’t see him calling it a day as long as he has the UFC welterweight title but you never know, a loss here could have massive ramifications for his future.
Winner’s prize: I think Colby Covington will likely fight the winner next, although, the winner of Till/Masvidal or Lawler/Askren may well be next in line. The thing is, Woodley and Askren won’t fight each other and another title clash between Till and Woodley is a tough sell so soon.
Loser’s prize: Again, it depends on who wins but the winner of Till/Masvidal or Lawler/Askren would be a safe bet.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena