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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Tyron Woodley plans on MMA return, blames ‘wack’ UFC Apex for recent performances

Tyron Woodley points the finger at the UFC Apex for his losing skid in MMA.

Former welterweight champion Woodley (19-7-1) parted ways with the UFC on a four-fight losing skid, all which came at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. His final fight in the UFC was a submission loss to Vicente Luque in March 2021.

The UFC Apex was heavily relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is still being utilized for many shows a year. The UFC used the Apex for live shows 17 times in 2023 and already has hosted nine events there through the first five months of 2024.

Woodley said he had a hard time getting up for fights in a quiet room with no crowd.

“To be honest, when I was fighting my last couple MMA fights it was just kind of like a simulation,” Woodley told Title Sports Network. “The whole Apex arena deal is kind of wack. It’s like a sparring session. I don’t let people come watch me spar. I don’t like it, being in a weird awkward room. The cage was super small, and I just really wasn’t motivated to be in a fight, especially at that time.

“Those fights to me are like exhibition fights. I do think the fans deserve to see me go out there, see me run through somebody, see the Tyron Woodley that they know I’m capable of being and put a proper close to my MMA career. So I’m planning for a big, big MMA fight, possibly in the Middle East.”

Prior to his four-fight losing skid, Woodley was unbeaten in his past seven fights, and retained his UFC welterweight title four times – twice against Stephen Thompson, once against Demian Maia, and once against Darren Till.

UFC CEO Dana White recently revealed that the promotion plans on moving away from UFC Apex shows to hit the road more in 2024.

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