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Woodley: ‘Big brother syndrome’ is Masvidal’s key to victory against Covington at UFC 272

Tyron Woodley breaks down the UFC 272 headliner between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

If there’s another person who’s seen the Colby Covington-Jorge Masvidal feud up close, it would be Tyron Woodley. The former UFC welterweight champion once trained alongside both men at American Top Team, and he sought the help of Masvidal when he fought Covington in 2020.

Now that the former best friends and roommates are facing each other at UFC 272, “The Chosen One” broke down how the fight could go. One thing he mentioned is Masvidal’s “big brother” advantage.

“I feel like Masvidal is going to win because Masvidal is always big brother,” Woodley told MMA Junkie. “Once you have big brother syndrome over someone, I feel like you can’t really shake that unless you have a big breakout moment and you can consistently keep up.

“There’s a couple of guys that I used to wrestle and they would always beat me. Then I would beat them one time and I just f–ng got a little cocky and I just started beating them consecutively. That don’t happen very often.

“I don’t think Colby had enough time fighting at the highest level in the gym with Masvidal to have had that moment,” he added. “Whenever he started getting to the point where he started talking enough to get himself in position, he had to leave the gym.

“They weren’t even training together anymore. So I don’t think he had a large enough victory in the gym.”

Woodley went on to mention some other keys to victory for Masvidal.

“Masvidal just needs to … keep his emotions and not turn it into where he just wants to fight him and hurt him and try to embarrass him – just really use what he does best,” he said. “He has the best boxing, I feel like, in MMA right now. I feel like his hand speed is crazy. His ability to work the body is nuts.

“Colby Covington does not like body shots. I knew it. Why I didn’t go there more often, I don’t know. Masvidal knows it. He gave me some tips on it. I think he’s just going to work him to the body.”

Woodley also recognized some of Covington’s strengths.

“Colby has to go and take him down a million times. The unfortunate thing for Masvidal is, if he goes for 10, he’s going to get one,” he explained.

“It’s a lot of cardio to try to come out with some fresh arms and make some accurate shots when you’ve been fighting that double leg, that single leg and back takes and just (the) annoying hanging on and lingering on and baby taps, just so they don’t stop you (and separate the clinch or stand it up). That’s what he’s got to do.

“Colby’s dumb, but he’s smart. He’s stupid as f–k, but he’s kind of smart as hell,” he added. “He’s not going to make nobody fight a fight that don’t make sense. He didn’t have to wrestle (Kamaru) Usman (in their first fight at UFC 245), because Usman didn’t let his balls drop yet as far as striking.

“So he could sit there and strike with him the whole time. You knew he was not going to shoot with me. He was coming, pumping my leg, and at any chance he would get, he was at the leg.

If you think he’s going to set up and try to strike with Masvidal to prove something – he’s not that stupid.”

UFC 272 happens on March 5th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.