The upcoming UFC card in May 23 may have just landed a marquee main event with former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley expected to face Gilbert Burns.
UFC president Dana White revealed plans to book Woodley vs. Burns on Tuesday during the latest episode of UFC Unfiltered.
“Before I came into this interview, I got a text from Woodley that said ‘I’m looking for Sean [Shelby], I want to sign this contract, I want this fight on the 23rd,” White said.
“So that’s what Woodley told me before I started this interview so we’ll see what happens. Burns is the opponent we’re looking at.”
Multiple sources confirmed to MMA Fighting that the fight was in the works with Burns already verbally agreeing to the matchup. Based on White’s comments, it appears Woodley has now agreed as well.
One hurdle that still has to be cleared is the May 23 card doesn’t have a location yet as the UFC continues to hope that shows can move forward at their APEX facility in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the state of Nevada still hasn’t cleared the way for combat sports to resume in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic so it might force the UFC to seek out other options.
Assuming the fight gets signed, Woodley would be making his return to action after nearly 14 months away. He hasn’t fought since losing the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in March 2019, although Woodley was initially scheduled to face Leon Edwards at the UFC London card in March.
That show was eventually scrapped due to the pandemic and due to travel restrictions, Edwards was unable to come to the U.S. from his home in England. That left an opening for Burns, who is seeking to build on his current five-fight win streak including a knockout over former title contender Demian Maia in his most recent outing.