Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley lost his title to Kamaru Usman in 2019, and hasn’t won since. But Woodley says he’s not done with the title picture just yet, and plans to prove it on Saturday night when he takes on Vincente Luque at UFC 260.
The Woodley vs. Luque fight has moved into the co-main event spot, after the UFC cancelled its featherweight title bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, as Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.
Luque: Woodley Still Dangerous
Woodley (19-6-1) dropped a unanimous decision to Gilbert Burns in May, then lost by TKO due to a rib injury in the fifth round against Colby Covington in September. Further losses could endanger Woodley’s UFC future, and potentially his MMA career as a whole. But the former champion says he must get back to winning before he’s ready to hang up his gloves.
“Life is not always a straight path,” Woodley told reporters. “It can be, but we make choices, and I made choices in my life that veered me off that path. Those are things that I have to deal with, and quitting is not an option. I’ve got to go out on top like I plan to do.”
Luque (19-7-1) enters the fight as a -255 favorite over Woodley (+210). He’s won eight of his last nine fights, only dropping a unanimous decision to No. 5 contender Stephen Thompson in 2019 to break up his winning streak.
Those odds and their respective current forms have made Luque look like the man to beat going into UFC 260. But the New Jersey-born Brazilian says he won’t think of underestimating the former champion just because he’s at a low point.
“He’s not in a good spot right now, but he remains highly dangerous,” Luque told MMA Junkie. “He has several great wins in his career, and I’m on a new winning streak. I’m hungry to get a title shot. Both of us have something to prove. He wants to be champ again, and I want to prove that I can also get there and be one of the most dominant fighters in our weight class.”
O’Malley Looks to Bounce Back from First Loss
The styles of these two welterweights should be somewhat complementary. While Luque likes to apply pressure, Woodley has historically let his opponents come at them in the hopes of punishing mistakes. The fight may come down to whether Woodley can recapture his old form and land a winning counter that finishes the fight. More likely, Luque will outpoint the former champion, as he has shown resiliency in the Octagon that has made him difficult to finish.
|Woodley vs. Luque Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Tyron Woodley: +210||Vincente Luque: -255|
|Method of Victory|
|Woodley by KO/TKO: +500||Luque by KO/TKO: +230|
|Woodley by Submission: +2200||Luque by Submission: +1500|
|Woodley by Decision: +460||Luque by Decision: +135|
A heavyweight title rematch between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Francis Ngannou headlines UFC 260. Also on the main card:
- Bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley (-330) tries to recover from his first career loss as he takes on Thomas Almeida (+265).
- 15 women’s flyweight contender Gillian Robertson (+134) battles Miranda Maverick (-158).
- Lightweight Jamie Mullarkey (+112) looks for his first UFC win against Khama Worthy (-132).