Morning Report: Tyron Woodley opens up about training with Jorge Masvidal, credits ‘Gamebred’ with re-motivating him

Tyron Woodley | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC Vegas 10 in two weeks, Tyron Woodley will finally get his chance to fight longtime rival Colby Covington. It’s a fight that has been years in the making and one that could represent a pivotal moment in the career of the former UFC welterweight champion. Woodley is now on a losing streak for the first time in his career, having lost back-to-back unanimous decisions to Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, not winning a single round in either contest. At 38 years old, a third loss for Woodley could spell disaster for his career and as such, “The Chosen One” is pulling out all the stops in preparation.

They say the enemy of your enemy is your friend and recently, Woodley revealed on Instagram that in preparation for this fight, he was training with “BMF” champion and fellow Covington enemy Jorge Masvidal. It was a surprising revelation, especially given the history between Masvidal and Woodley’s teammate Ben Askren, but speaking to ESPN, Woodley says this is all good with Askren and mutually beneficial to both him and Masvidal.

“So before Masvidal even came here, I called Ben and said ‘I’m gonna train with Jorge for this fight,’” Woodley said. “‘He wants to come out, he wants to help me, he wants to work with me. It benefits him as much as it does me, to be honest, but I’m not gonna turn down this deal. I don’t know how you feel about it.’ But I can’t make his enemy my enemy. And you’ve heard Ben talk about it, Ben’s really not an enemy to him. He did what he needed to do to build the fight, it happened the way it happened, but it happens. Sometimes you get f*cked up, you get knocked out. We’ve all had it happen and if you haven’t had it happen to you—unless you’re Khabib—you’re gonna have it happen to you.

“So I started training with (Masvidal) and he has such a good time that he said, ‘You know what, I’ve had such a good time that I’m gonna go home for a day or two and then come back out,’ and he came back out. We’re just iron sharpening iron.”

Both Woodley and Masvidal are longtime American Top Team fighters and spent much of their early careers training together. In recent times, however, Woodley has moved away from training at ATT headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla., instead training at ATT Evolution in his hometown of St. Louis, while also working with other gyms, most notably Roufusport. But despite Woodley’s shift away from the main ATT training grounds (where, notably, Covington still trained until recently), the former UFC champion says that he’s always been cool with Masvidal and that having him with him now is like a return to form.

“When he reached out, I said, ‘Hell yeah, let’s get him in,’” Woodley said. “It’s really solid because you’ve got two dudes who are the same. We both came from the gutter when you think about it and we both found a way to stick with it and we’ve had a long career because of our IQ and because we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations in training so that we can thrive in the Octagon. And I want to see him do well. I want to see him continue to make the money, do what he wants to do, and he wants to see me back on top.”

But that’s not all Masvidal has done for him. For years, Masvidal was an afterthought among the top tiers of MMA. He was highly-respected among fighters but never gained a strong foothold with fans. But in 2019, Masvidal turned a corner, going on a run of three KO wins that launched him to stardom in the broader world and led to his title shot earlier this year, a run which Masvidal credits to a change in mentality. Now, Woodley says, Masvidal has helped instill that same thing in him moving forward.

“We had several conversations even before this happened: ‘Tyron, get your head straight.’ My head was f*cked up and now I cleared it up, look what happened. Till, Ben, da da da, I went on a run. You’ve got to do the same thing,’” Woodley said. “So he kinda gave me the motivation and accountability because I didn’t want to let him down. He hit me up personally about a year and a half ago and told me there were some toxic things in my life that I needed to erase, and I’ve erased those things and now I can breathe, now I can float. Now I’m back, and it feels good, and I’ve really got to thank him for that.”

UFC Vegas 10 takes place at UFC APEX on September 19.


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VIDEO STEW

The A-Side Live Chat.

UFC Vegas 9: Fighters You Should Know.

Road to Bellator 246.

Eddie Alvarez discusses Bully Beatdown.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Getting philosophical about fighting styles in MMA.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Alistair Overeem, Brian Kelleher, and Mallory Martin.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

If this card survives, he’s right.

Michael Chandler spotted with USADA and he’s now totally free of the Bellator matching period. Is this a sign?

Don’t worry, Leon, you’re getting Wonderboy.

Get Michel Pereira into Fight Circus.

Paulo Costa just taunting USADA.

Alright, I’m interested.

DC in full retirement mode.

This was a good poster. Shame the fight got moved.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Leslie Smith (11-8-1) vs. Amanda Bell (7-6); Bellator 245, Sep. 11.

Keith Lee (6-3) vs. Vinicius Zani (11-6); Bellator 245, Sep. 11.

Sean Strickland (20-3) vs. Wellington Turman (16-4); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 31.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


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