Welterweight king Tyron Woodley is set to defend his title, but not against the current No. 1 contender. According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, Woodley will defend his 170-pound title against Kamaru Usman in the co-main event of UFC 235 in Las Vegas on March 2.
Woodley most recently defended his belt against Darren Till in September 2018, but it was the story leading into that fight on top of the current drama in the division that makes this decision so fascinating. UFC put an interim welterweight title on the line at UFC 225 in June in a bout between Colby Covington and Rafael dos Anjos. Covington went on to win in decisive fashion over 25 grueling minutes. UFC then wanted Covington to make a quick turnaround and face Woodley in September, but Covington was not healthy enough to take the bout on short notice to face Woodley, who was returning from injuries of his own.
Instead, Till took on Woodley, but UFC never officially stripped Covington of his interim title, making him still the No. 1 contender for the full belt. Then in December, Usman took out dos Anjos in similar fashion to Covington and instantly inserted himself into the title picture.
Before cancelling its PPV event in January, UFC attempted to book Woodley vs. Covington to headline in California, but the two sides could not reach an agreement.
Woodley, 36, has not lost since 2014 and is riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak. Usman is on a 13-fight winning streak with his lone professional loss coming in 2013.