Tyron Woodley is targeting his return for just a few months from now.
The UFC welterweight champion is hoping to step back into the Octagon at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles, he told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on Wednesday.
Spoke to UFC welterweight champion @TWooodley earlier today. He said his surgically-repaired shoulder has fully healed, and he’s hoping to fight on the Aug. 4 UFC 227 card in Los Angeles. Nothing finalized yet.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 23, 2018
Woodley has not fought since a July 2017 title defense against Demian Maia at UFC 214. He won the bout in a lopsided decision, but in it he suffered a shoulder tear that required surgery (which he did not undergo until December).
Per Helwani, “The Chosen One” is now fully recovered. Nothing is finalized at this time, but it is expected he would face the winner of Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington next. The pair of 170-pound contenders square off for the interim title in the UFC 225 co-main event next month in Chicago.
For whatever reason, if the dos Anjos-Covington winner is unable to challenge Woodley when the champ is ready to come back, there are some other options. Rising welterweight Kamaru Usman picked up the biggest win of his career — a decision of Maia — last weekend in the headliner of the UFC’s debut in Chile. A pivotal 170-pound bout between former title challenger Stephen Thompson and Darren Till serves as the main event in Liverpool, England on Sunday.
UFC 227, the event Woodley wants to be part of, currently features a bantamweight title fight between champ T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. The former teammates turned rivals fought for the first time last November; Dillashaw took away Garbrandt’s belt with a second-round knockout.
UFC president Dana White recently said Georges St-Pierre vs. Nate Diaz, Alexander Gustafsson vs. Luke Rockhold, and Yair Rodriguez vs. Zabit Magomedshirapov were all targeted for the pay-per-view card, but all three bouts appear to be off the table. St-Pierre is not overly interested in the Diaz matchup; Rockhold injured his leg last week; and Rodriguez was released from the promotion for allegedly turning the bout down (though he said that is untrue earlier this week).
Woodley won the welterweight title in July 2016 with a knockout of Robbie Lawler.