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UFC London: Leon Edwards Claims Tyron Woodley Tried to Duck Him, But Was “Forced” to Take Fight

After weeks of speculation regarding whether Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards were going to end up fighting, recently it was finally confirmed the two are going to battle on March 21st. But, according to Edwards, the bout wasn’t finalized until after the UFC informed Woodley he had no other choices but to battle “Rocky”.

Edwards claims Woodley was “forced” to take fight

Woodley has yet to fight since he lost the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in March, 2019. After the defeat, Woodley pushed for an immediate rematch, but Usman ended up facing Colby Covington in his first title defense in December (and won via fifth round stoppage).

Since Edwards is riding an eight-fight winning streak, talk about him fighting the former champ Woodley ratcheted up last fall. But, Woodley never sounded overly interested in fighting Edwards, or going overseas to face him in London. But, recently it was announced that a bout between the two will indeed, headline UFC London in March.

Well, recently Edwards spoke with MMA Junkie, and he had this to say about the fight’s booking and Woodley.

“Tyron was trying to make excuses of why he shouldn’t come overseas and why he didn’t want to come to London,” Edwards said. “The UFC had to force him into it. They gave him no choice but to take the fight. He was forced into it. He knows it’s a dangerous fight for him, and after I beat him, where does he go? He knows the risk.

“I went to Vegas and I had a meeting with Sean Shelby and Dana White and they were saying, ‘You’ve got no other options.’ He would fight me or they were going to move him out of the rankings. He had no choice. He had to take the fight. There’s no other way for him to go. He can’t wait out for a title shot because that’s not going to happen. It’s the only fight that makes sense for the division.”

Did Woodley attempt to duck Edwards?

So, was Woodley really trying to avoid a fight with Edwards? It’s possible. But, it’s hard to imagine Woodley doing so out of a lack of confidence. At the end of the day, Edwards does have much more to win in this fight than Woodley. While hardcore fans are aware of the run Edwards has been on, he’s still not a household name, so a win probably won’t do much for Woodley’s profile.

That said, if Woodley does intend to fight Usman again for the belt, he probably didn’t have any other choice than to fight Edwards. Woodley is ranked #1, Covington is #2 and he’s sidelined still due to injuries he sustained in the Usman loss. Jorge Masvidal is #3, but he’s teammates with Woodley and on account of his recent wins, he could be next for Usman. Edwards, meanwhile, is ranked #4.

One thing does seem clear; however, although Woodley may not have been too keen about heading to England to fight Edwards, he seems pretty eager to throw hands with the surging welterweight now.

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