The countdown is officially on until Tyron Woodley’s boxing debut Sunday against Jake Paul, and it’s safe to say Woodley is excited to finally get his hands on his polarizing foe.
“I’m just glad to be a part of it, but I’m not only here to participate,” a fired-up Woodley said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I’m here to f*cking take over. And you’re going to see Jake Paul get hurt in a way you’d never imagine. He may not want to do this again after this.”
Woodley, 39, is set to face the undefeated Paul live on pay-per-view in an eight-round, 190-pound boxing match at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
A former UFC welterweight champion, Woodley is the latest MMA fighter to be handpicked to box the 24-year-old YouTube star following Paul’s first-round knockout of Woodley’s teammate, Ben Askren, in April. The event is expected to be one of the biggest paydays of Woodley’s career, and Woodley said Monday that he’s ready to go. He noted that he’s feeling sharper and more mentally prepared than he’s felt in years.
The lack of a weight cut has certainly helped matters in that regard — Woodley cut down to 170 pounds throughout his UFC run. But the fact that Woodley has also seen Paul make what he’s deemed to be rookie mistakes throughout the bout’s lead-up by spreading himself too thin in the media has only bolstered that confidence even further.
“I just can’t wait to play the spoiler,” Woodley said. “I remember this when I was fighting Rory MacDonald [at UFC 174]. I was fighting Rory MacDonald in Vancouver, it was his hometown, and I was doing all of the Embeddeds, all of the videos, all of the promos. I had all these crazy sponsors, and I spent so much time and energy running around [doing all of it]. He wouldn’t do any interviews, he wouldn’t let anybody into his hotel room. He was locked in and he was focused. And even when the news came that actually this fight is not the No. 1 contendership fight anymore, he still remained focused.
“That reminds me of the younger version of Tyron Woodley — what Jake Paul is doing. All of the down-the-road looking at other fighters, all of the setting up the Furys to fight on this card, and ‘if then, if what’s about this,’ and doing all of the additional media and all of the additional bullsh*t. I’m just going to sit there and smile because I did it once. But I wisened up now as an OG, to know that I’m representing MMA, but I’m representing the OGs for real. Not the older guys, but the real people who really stand for something, that really have been around the block a couple times and they’ve got war wounds to prove it.
“That’s what I stand for,” Woodley continued. “And anybody who really f*cks with that is going to love this performance. They’re going to love these hands going upside his head. And I didn’t buy into the bullsh*t. I didn’t buy into the Disney stuff. I didn’t buy into the drama or taking on extra pressure that he did. He’s got so much pressure on him. And I’ll look to go out there and make an example and make a statement.”
Appearing on Monday’s show, Woodley spoke with all the air of an athlete who knew a secret the rest of the sport didn’t. He hinted at some potential gamesmanship that may have been at play with the kernels of information he’s released ahead of his Aug. 29 date with Paul, and alluded to the idea that Paul may have been misled about certain aspects of Woodley’s camp and preparation in an effort to not scare Paul away.
“I’m smart too. He’s not the only smart one,” Woodley said. “When you see [my video blog] ‘Champ Camp’ drop Saturday, when it’s too late after the weigh-ins, you’re going to see what I’ve really been doing. What you guys have seeing has been sprinkles, it’s been salt baes. When you see the destruction and the f*cking training and the mentality and the coaching and the running every single day, all different terrains, hills, speeds, adjustments, altitudes, it’s going to be too late for him to back out of this fight. And that’s why in the beginning I said I wanted a ‘no bitch out’ clause. Because I knew if he saw how hard I really punch, and how great my mind really is for this sport — any combat sport — my IQ and just the coaches, [that he might back out].
“I let him think I was bouncing around,” Woodley continued. “I just walked my daughter to school for her first day of first grade. I haven’t seen them in three months. I’ve been in Miami the whole time. I let him think I was in LA, Vegas, but [my team] were with me. They trained me in Miami. So I was super focused, super locked in, and now cat’s out of the hat and this kid’s going to get his cap knocked off. And as the young kids say, no cap.”
Woodley admitted that he was initially worried that Paul could stumble into some second thoughts after realizing what he signed up for and drop out as the date drew closer.
But now? That time has long since passed.
“It’s too late. He’s going to be the biggest b*tch in the industry of female dogs if he backs out of this fight now,” Woodley said. “So now I can talk for real. Now I can say what we really were doing. Now I can show you guys. Come Saturday, if you guys are not subscribed to me on YouTube, subscribe. Saturday, I’m breaking the internet.
“I promise you, it’s going to be internet breaking. This entire camp has been a movie.
“If he tried to pull a COVID-19 [and pull out now], I’m coming to his hotel and I’m sticking a Q-tip in his nose and I’m going to do it for seven tests,” Woodley added. “I want to see some x-rays. I want to see some ultrasound. I want the doctor to produce the [positive test] to me personally. Because he doesn’t really understand that the force I punch with and the certainty of me landing and me seeing it before it happens. It’s not something that a sparring partner in Puerto Rico can display and mimic and perpetrate.”
Unlike Askren, Woodley was known as a puncher with ferocious knockout power during his time in the UFC. He notched seven knockouts during his MMA career, including the first-round stoppage of Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 that earned Woodley the welterweight title.
When asked for a prediction, Woodley vowed to knock out Paul in thunderous fashion. He said he plans to use the patience and ringcraft that carried him through his three-year title reign, but also that he’ll be focused on separating Paul from consciousness with every punch he throws from the opening bell.
And he hasn’t forgotten the bet Paul proposed to him either. At a pre-fight press conference back in July, Paul and Woodley agreed that the loser of their bout would get a tattoo on their body proclaiming their affection for the winner. Woodley is willing to grant Paul an out to avoid the embarrassing ink, but the YouTuber will still have to pay up in another way.
“I’ll let him negotiate it,” Woodley said. “If he doesn’t want to get the tattoo, he’ll have to pay me a nice bag because it was his bet. So we can stop it for a bag. Either you get the tattoo, or you give up some cash and donate it to my charity.”