Turns out Masvidal has been helping Woodley train in St. Louis for three weeks in advance of the welterweight bout.
“Masvidal hit me up,” Woodley told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “I started training with him, and he had such a good time, he said, ‘You know what? I’m going home for a day or two, and I’m coming back out.’ He came back out.”
Masvidal, Woodley and Covington were all teammates at the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek, Florida, where Masvidal still trains. Woodley opened his own gym, ATT Evolution, in St. Louis, and Covington left ATT earlier this year after publicly feuding — in violation of gym rules — with several teammates, especially Masvidal.
“I trained with Jorge for five years straight,” Woodley said. “When I first joined ATT and he was at ATT, we trained, hell on wheels. …
“I’ve always been American Top Team, and I’ve always supported Jorge. If you go back two, three years, you’ll see me giving Jorge credit and being happy for him, genuinely that he’s finally making the money.”
Masvidal enjoyed a breakout year in 2019 and fought for the welterweight title on July 11, when he lost a unanimous decision to Kamaru Usman after taking the fight on six days’ notice. Masvidal is expected to defend his BMF belt against Nate Diaz next.
“So when he reached out, I said, ‘Hell yeah, let’s get him in,'” Woodley said. “He’s holding me accountable — ‘Can’t do that; tonight we’re doing this, how much you weigh?’ We’ve had a long career because of our IQ and because we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations in training so that we can thrive in the Octagon. And I want to see him do well. I want to see him continue to make the money, do what he wants to do. And he wants to see me back on top.”
Woodley said Masvidal also has helped him with personal matters.
“He hit me up personally about a year and a half ago and told me there were some toxic things in my life that I needed to erase, and I’ve erased those things,” Woodley said. “Now I can breathe. Now I can float. Now I’m back, and it feels good, and I have to thank him for that.”