Tyron Woodley knows he had Jake Paul dead to rights.
In the middle of the fourth round in their first fight back in September, the former UFC champion blasted Paul with a huge left hand that sent the former YouTube celebrity turned boxer into the ropes after suffering the first real damage in his fight career.
Unfortunately, Woodley wasn’t able to capitalize on the moment as Paul recovered and survived until the end of the round before ultimately winning a split decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Now just days away from the rematch on Dec. 18, Woodley has finally revealed why he wasn’t able to go for the kill to potentially end Paul’s night with a knockout.
“My shoulder was f*cking sore,” Woodley said when appearing on The MMA Hour. “I ain’t gonna lie. I wanted to [knock him out] but my shoulder was swollen before and I was just kind of swinging on pure thug energy from MMA, not just giving a hell.”
Woodley originally suffered a torn labrum during a fight against Demian Maia back in 2017 that eventually forced him to have surgery to repair the damage done.
It appears that same injury was hampering Woodley in his professional boxing debut as he sought to put Paul away but he wasn’t able to throw punches with full force behind them.
“When you watch the punch, I punched him, he sprung off the ropes and he went back into my arm,” Woodley explained. “So it kind of hype extended my elbow on my shoulder so at that point my moneymaker was at jeopardy so I had to try and walk him down, make him punch so I could punch straight shots. Straight shots off of his punches, very similar to what I had to do against Demian Maia when I tore my labrum in that fight.
“I couldn’t throw looping overhand rights because it made me feel like my shoulder was in jeopardy. So my left arm and my right arm and my shoulder, they was just throbbing like a motherf*cker.”
Despite an ailing shoulder, Woodley says he still tried to put Paul away but he just wasn’t able to mix together enough punches to take advantage of the situation after landing the near knockdown.
“I wanted to hit him, I ain’t going to give him my signature punch but I was going to hit him with the shot that was going to put him down and I just really couldn’t do it to be honest,” Woodley said. “I’m like I’m not going to let this kid beat me so I’m just going forward and I’m just going to try to punch him out. I feel like I did that. I feel like I won the fight.”
While he wasn’t able to get the finish, Woodley believed the decision should have gone his way because he didn’t see Paul doing anything after the fourth round that would have helped him secure the victory.
“I went back and looked at the fight — I won round four, he never won a round after that,” Woodley said. “So that’s four, five, six, seven, eight. That’s five [rounds]. How would he win the fight if it should have technically been a knockdown. He should have technically got the count but he didn’t. How did he win the fight? I was just so confused.”
Just three months later, Woodley will seek to rectify that loss in his rematch with Paul, which comes after Tommy Fury was knocked off the card due to illness and injury.
On paper, Woodley is taking the fight at a decided disadvantage because he only accepted the opportunity two weeks ago but that doesn’t speak to the actual time he put into his preparation after feeling like destiny was on his side.
“I would say probably the middle to the end of September, I brought all my coaches into St. Louis, Mo. the top of October [to start getting ready],” Woodley revealed. “You can go back and look at Instagram.
“I brought them into St. Louis, Mo. cause this fight [with Tommy Fury] don’t make sense. It’s not supposed to happen.”
It turns out Woodley’s prediction came true and now he’ll look for redemption when he faces Paul for the second time on Saturday night in Florida.