Duke Roufus hopes the UFC gives Woodley another fight ‘as soon as possible’
For the second fight in a row, Tyron Woodley has had a scheduled opponent who struggled badly to make the welterweight limit. At UFC 183, Woodley ended up agreeing to fight Kelvin Gastelum at a higher catchweight after the “Ultimate Fighter” winner struggled to make 171 pounds.
Friday morning, UFC president Dana White announced that Woodley’s title-eliminator bout with former champion Johny Hendricks was canceled because "Bigg Rigg" was having difficulties making weight. Woodley’s coach Duke Roufus spoke with FOX Sports minutes after the news broke and was clearly disappointed.
"It’s really hard for fighters to go through this. This is the second fight in a row where this has happened to Tyron," he said.
"There were huge ramifications in this fight. It was a huge opportunity for Tyron. He put so much work, time and effort into the training camp, and his goal is to be the world champion."
While Roufus and Woodley’s camp had a meeting before UFC 183 to decide whether or not to fight Gastelum at the higher weight, the coach says that he wasn’t a part of any such decision making this time around as he was with another pupil, Sergio Pettis (who Roufus said woke up Friday morning "on weight"), who also fights at UFC 192, so he doesn’t know what may or may not have been offered to Woodley this time around.
Roufus believes that fighters need to have more realistic expectations of what weight classes they can fight at. "Here’s the problem — guys need to have realistic weights to walk around and have realistic expectations for what they can cut. It’s not fair," he said.
With that said, Roufus said that he is taking a cue from his fighter and didn’t want to complain too much, and instead wanted to look to the future. According to the coach, Woodley is presently continuing his planned weight cut, with four pounds left to go at the time of our conversation so that he can make weight and get paid.
"Tyron had an incredible training camp. He trained at American Top Team, then came up to Roufusport. I see so much potential in him. We want to focus on what’s next. Hopefully the UFC gets him something as soon as possible," he said.
"Hopefully they get him matched against someone else who does want to be a champion, can make weight, and show up."