UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Colby Covington was apparently ready to fight at UFC 235, but Helwani also reports that the UFC opted to go with Usman because the contender’s stock rose in the eyes of the UFC brass.
Woodley (19-3-1) is going to be making the fifth defense of his championship, last defending it against Darren Till in the main event of UFC 228. Woodley won the gold back at UFC 201 in July of 2016, defeating Robbie Lawler by first round knockout. Woodley has defended the gold four times prior to UFC 235 and three of those championship bouts went the distance.
Usman (14-1-0) will enter the contest on the strength of a thirteen fight winning streak and the fighter hasn’t suffered a defeat in over five years. Usman has already picked up nine wins under the UFC banner and seven of them have come by way of decision. Usman has suffered just a single defeat as a professional MMA fighter and that came to Jose Caceres at Championship Fighting Alliance 11 in May of 2013.
UFC 235 takes place on Saturday, March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Jon Jones and Anthony Smith potentially headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.