Tyron Woodley’s coach thinks he is nearing welterweight greatness.

Just how good is the reigning defending welterweight champion T-Wood? Only Hall of Famers Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes have more title defenses at 170 pounds than Woodley. St-Pierre has a staggering nine defenses and Hughes has five from his time as a dominant champion. If Woodley is able to defend his title one more time he will tie Hughes with five successful defenses.

Since day one, Woodley has had aspirations of greatness. He has repeatedly stated his desire to go down as the greatest welterweight fighter of all time. Though that title is usually given to GSP, Woodley is definitely in the discussion for the top three.

Woodley most recently defeated the previously unbeaten Darren Till in the main event of UFC 228. In so doing retaining his title for the fourth straight time. Now Woodley’s coach Din Thomas believes with another successful defense “The Chosen One” will be on par with St-Pierre.

Din Thomas on T-Wood

“I think, at this point, I’m going to have to say second,” Thomas said recently on The MMA Hour when asked to assess Woodley’s all-time welterweight ranking. “Like you said, I think his résumé speaks for itself, when you think of the guys that he has beaten, even in his come-up, between like Carlos Condit, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler. He’s beaten all those guys.

“But I think that a couple more title defenses will solidify his position. I think that’s all he needs. A win over Colby — to me, I think Colby’s an easy opponent, to be honest with you, but just on the résumé he kinda needs that just so he can have more title defenses — and maybe even Usman, but if he gets those two then he’s the best of all-time.”

Covington Next

A fight between Woodley and Covington seems like a foregone conclusion. UFC president Dana White stated before UFC 228 that “Chaos” is the next in line to challenge for the welterweight title. Although White has been known to waffle on his words ion the past.

“He doesn’t have anything that’s dangerous to Tyron,” Thomas explained. “He doesn’t have the ability to knock him out with one punch if Tyron slips, he doesn’t have the ability to choke Tyron out — to play ‘take him down, take his back, choke him out.’ I don’t think he has that ability. The way Colby can win that fight is to obviously grind him out, and I don’t think he can outwrestle Tyron to get up to that point. So to me, that’s just kind of an easier matchup.”

Woodley was rumored to be defending his title at UFC 230 on November 3. However, it has since been revealed that he will be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks because of hand surgery stemming from a dislocated thumb and three torn ligaments.

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Woodley & White Beef

White and Woodley have had a contentious relationship in the past. So when White was conspicuously absent from the UFC 228 press conference the media perceived White’s action as a sleight to Woodley. However, Thomas wouldn’t go that far.

“Being on the (Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight) show with Dana, I know how hard he works. I know his schedule and I know he keeps everything really tight, so I would never speculate that he didn’t show up because he disliked Tyron or he didn’t want Tyron to win,” Thomas said. “In fact, when he came into the cage, he kinda gave me a nod and was like, ‘Good job.’ I mean, of course everybody’s going to speculate that he didn’t like it, but I know, like I said, Dana keeps a very tight schedule. I know that he was leaving — I was talking to his security guy afterward saying, ‘Man, we got a flight to catch.’

“And sometimes Dana, it’s just like, his schedule, he’s tired all the time, so I don’t want to use that as the excuse but I just know he keeps a tight schedule. So that’s the only reason why I could see he wouldn’t be at the press conference. I would like to see him come out with a statement and congratulate Tyron. That would be good, because it’s easy to criticize fighters, but when they show and prove, when they show up and give you what you ask, I think it’s only right to give them their props.”

Mike Straus @AKAstraus21 is a credentialed MMA journalist and a member of the MMAJA. He has been a fan of the sport since its inception and has been covering the sport professionally for three years. In the past, he has produced content for Fansided's Cagepages, mma-media.com, and Combatpress.com. He currently contributes for MyMMANews.com, he is a staff writer for Cagesidepress.com, and LowKickMMA.com. He most recently began writing for BJPenn.com.