The UFC welterweight title picture gets murkier by the day.
After Colby Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos to claim the interim UFC welterweight title in June, he was thought to be a lock as undisputed champion Tyron Woodley's next challenger.
Not so, according to a report by ESPN. The sports outlet is reporting that officials wanted to make the Woodley vs. Covington bout the UFC 228 headliner on Sept. 8 in Dallas, but that Covington declined because of undisclosed reasons. Sources told MMAWeekly.com's Damon Martin that Covington is due to have an unidentified surgery, and would not be available to fight in September.
Now the UFC is reportedly, according to ESPN's sources, considering stripping Covington of his interim designation to pit Woodley against fast-rising contender Darren Till.
Till is undefeated at 17-0-1 and coming off of back-to-back wins over Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson. So, he is certainly a solid choice to step in, but he told MMAFighting on Thursday that he was offered the fight, but that Woodley wouldn't agree to it.
“I don’t know what’s happening with Colby, whether he’s injured or not, but I’ve been offered Tyron Woodley and he turned the fight down,” said Till.
“I’m not too bothered about it, but I get a feeling that (Woodley) thinks that nobody is worthy of fighting him for the title. I think he just wants to hold onto the belt for as long as he can. He’s going to have to make a decision soon. If he doesn’t want to fight me, who does he want to fight? It’s just me and Colby and Colby is injured apparently, so who is there? It’s a weird one, but I’m just waiting to see what happens.”
UFC 228 already has numerous high-profile bouts announced, including the first defense of the UFC women's flyweight title. Champion Nicco Montano is returning from injury to put her belt on the line for the first time opposite Valentina Shevchenko, who has been waiting in the wings for several months.