Tyron Woodley believes he can conquer the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division. After all, he already owns a victory over Kelvin Gastelum, and the reigning champion, Robert Whittaker, previously competed at 170 pounds before moving up a weight class.
"People in the middleweight [division], they need to watch out too. I might slide up on one of y'all by the end of the year," Woodley said Monday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. "Wipe out the division clean at welterweight and go up there and either beat (Kelvin) Gastelum up again or take out Robert Whittaker. They are both welterweights anyways. They just don't know how to cut weight.”
Whittaker will defend his middleweight crown against Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC 234 headliner in Melbourne, Australia on Feb. 9.
Before Woodley can even begin to realize any dreams of becoming a two-division champion, he must successfully defend the 170-pound strap against Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 on March 2. “The Chosen One” is more than confident he can take care of business in Las Vegas against Usman, who has won nine consecutive bouts in the promotion.
"Kamaru Usman? He's not ready for me yet," Woodley said. "He's not mature enough in the sport yet to be able to withstand what I'm going to bring at him.
"What's Kamaru going to do, take me down? He's going to out-strike me? He's going to punch harder than me? He's going to out-strategize me with fight IQ? He's a version of myself five years ago.”
If he defeats Usman, Woodley has stated that he would ideally like to face former interim champion Colby Covington in June at a pay-per-view event he expects to be in Chicago. So if all goes as planned, 2019 could be a busy campaign for Woodley.