Duke Roufus: Tyron Woodley ‘Working On Getting His Motivation Back’

Tyron Woodley

Former UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has had a tough 2020, losing lopsided bouts against top contenders Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington, injuring his rib in the latter bout. The former champ is looking to get his mojo back.

According to his head coach, Duke Roufus, the financial hit Woodley has taken since losing his world title has greatly affected Woodley’s motivation for competition.

“He’s really just working his way back up,” Roufus explained to MMA Fighting. “A lot of people don’t realize the change in—You hate to talk about money, but people who fist fight for a living, I did for 20 years, I understand these guys want more than normal people. The way it works when you are the champion you get paid X amount, then you go back to your normal pay and it’s definitely a change of attitude. I think it’s a little harder to stay motivated, I think it’s harder to become champion again in the UFC because it’s such a change of attitude and people who’ve been doing it, I tip my hat to them. It’s very hard.

“Tyron is working on getting his motivation back. You can say what you want about him, but there’s no quit in the man. I respect that a lot. Most people would give up after the tough days these guys see, but there’s no quit in Tyron and he’s optimistic about 2021 and he’s looking to turn it around.”

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According to Roufus, Woodley is looking to get back into the Octagon sometime in March, potentially matching up with Michael Chiesa, a matchup Roufus and the team think would favor Woodley.

“He hit me up last week and I think we’re gonna do a full camp this time in Milwaukee,” Roufus said. “I’m not saying that’s the reason why he won or lost, but I just like spending time with these guys because I can connect with them. It’s not always about Xs and Os, it’s about experience. Here’s the thing, I was successful, but I also was a failure too. One of my biggest things I had going for me, I wasn’t perfect as a fighter. I had some setbacks and I had to dig through adversity. I teach from my failures, not from my success and that’s something I’m very transparent about with the guys I work with. I don’t judge them, I just try to use my experience to help them. The more time I can spend with them, the more I can help them.

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“I know it’s important to get into a longer training camp situation with Tyron because he’s a special guy. Special people like him and Anthony, they’re more like F-1 racing car engines. They take a very special mechanic to get that fine-tuned engine to perform at the level that they do. If we can get ‘em right, then it’s something special.”

While Woodley is currently on the first losing streak of his illustrious career, Roufus believes that Woodley is still in peak physical condition and his problems are almost all psychological.

“A lot of people don’t understand these guys have tough upbringings and unfortunately these guys suppress a lot of the bad things that have happened in their lives,” Roufus said. “They use it as motivation for a long time but these situations they grew up with they kind of hide them for the longest time and they cause a lot of emotional strife in their life and I believe their emotions are blocked when they get into the arena. But as close people in the inner circle we help work through them and help them be the best they can be.

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“I think that Tyron heading into 2021 is gonna be a better fighter and person and he’s gonna figure it out. One of my favorite guys I follow in jiu-jitsu—I don’t train with him but I like a lot of what he talks about—is Chris Saunders. He has a great quote about jiu-jitsu: ‘The best isn’t who does the best. The best are the guys who stick around the longest.’ That’s what it is, you’ve just got to endure and keep fighting until you figure it out.”

One thing is for sure, Tyron Woodley is a former champ and if he can string a win or two in a row, this would be someone to truly look out for in the welterweight division if he were to get his mind right. A newly improved and motivated Tyron Woodley can certainly make some noise.

Do you think Duke Roufus can help Tyron Woodley improve following his last three fights?