Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will take on Gilbert Burns in the main event of the UFC’s next show on May 30, though a venue has yet to be officially announced.
Woodley knocked out Robbie Lawler in 2016 to win the UFC welterweight title. He then defended that title four times – winning three times and drawing once – before losing the belt to Kamaru Usman last year.
Burns Finally Gets His Shot at Woodley
Burns confirmed in a Tuesday night tweet that the fight had been made.
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) May 19, 2020
The 38-year-old Woodley (19-4-1) hasn’t fought since his loss to Usman, but remains the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division. Meanwhile, Burns (18-3) is riding a five-fight winning streak, most recently stopping Demian Maia in the first round at a UFC Fight Night event in Brazil in March – the UFC’s last event before returning to action in Jacksonville this month.
The No. 6-ranked Burns has been calling out Woodley in recent months. Woodley planned to fight Leon Edwards at a UFC event in London on March 21, but Edwards dropped out after the UFC moved the card to Oklahoma due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
Burns offered to be a replacement for Edwards, but the UFC ultimately canceled the card. Burns says Woodley never agreed to fight him then – or at any of the other opportunities that have arisen since.
“What happened was the first time in London, he declined the fight and then after the event was canceled, after the president gives the speech and then it was canceled, then he went on social media, ‘Oh, I accepted the fight with Gilbert,’” Burns said last month on MMA Fighting’s “What the Heck” show. “That was a lie. He just asked to get on May 9, this card that’s coming, and he declined again.”
Burns went on to say he’s lost respect for Woodley.
“I had a lot of respect for the guy, he used to be the champion,” Burns said. “But then he lost, he just does one fight a year, if you take a look, he just fights one time a year. Then he lost and after that he’s just not fighting anymore.”
Apex Facility Could Host May 30 Show
FanDuel Sportsbook lists Woodley as the -166 favorite over Burns (+140) in the main event. Other fights confirmed for the card include Klidson Abreu (+136) vs. Jamahal Hill (-160), and Mackenzie Dern (-390) vs. Hannah Cifers (+310).
There’s still one major outstanding question about the May 30 card, however: where will the fights take place? It appears increasingly likely that the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas will host the event. However, the Nevada Athletic Commission has yet to reinstate combat sports in the state. White said the Apex plan was “a go” in a text message to the Las Vegas Review-Journal early on Wednesday, but has also signaled that Arizona could serve as a backup option.