According to multiple sources, the 170-pound title fight will take place at UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas. Both fighters have signed their respective bout agreements, sources say.
The list of potential opponents to take on Woodley (19-3-1) ultimately came down to Usman (14-1), who has won 13 in a row, and Colby Covington, a winner in his past six fights who has been embroiled in a war of words with Woodley for well over a year.
In the end, the UFC chose Usman in large part because of its frustration over the fact that Covington, who won the interim welterweight title in June by defeating Rafael dos Anjos, refused to fight anyone else while Woodley was recovering from hand surgery. In the meantime, Usman defeated dos Anjos in late November and openly campaigned to fight any contender on short notice, which helped him leapfrog Covington in the eyes of the UFC brass.
The fight will mark Woodley’s fifth title defense since winning the belt in 2016. He most recently defeated Darren Till in September.
The UFC wants the event, which will take place at T-Mobile Arena, to be headlined by Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith for the light heavyweight title. However, that is contingent on the Nevada State Athletic Commission granting Jones his license at a Jan. 29 hearing.