As Paul sought to legitimize his boxing career, Woodley was considered his first real challenge as a former UFC champion with serious knockout power in his hands. Paul edged out Woodley by majority decision in their first encounter before connecting on a devastating overhand right in the rematch that floored the veteran mixed martial artist.
As much as some fighters still want to mock Paul and his boxing aspirations, Woodley cautions anyone who thinks that he’s not taking his career seriously and considering him as just a social influencer whose dabbling in combat sports for the fun of it
“I know a lot of people want to see Jake Paul get beat up and see him taught a lesson like a bully on a playground,” Woodley said on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “But he really is a kid, not very much responsibility, no financial limitations, energy, he makes everything a bucket list, a challenge. That’s why he likes to bet so much. If he loses, it’s not that big of a deal but he secretly wants to win real bad.
“Cause he’s been a fan of the combat sports world for so long. I’ve got so many videos of the baby face Jake Paul wanting to take pictures with me and Logan [Paul] and being fans of me back in the day, he’s just tricking everyone.”
Paul often draws attention to himself through Twitter or Instagram while taking shots at other fighters or sometimes engaging in a flame war with promoters like UFC president Dana White, which might make it seem like he’s spending too much time on social media and not enough effort being put into the gym.
After spending over 40 minutes in the ring with him, Woodley knows that’s absolutely not the case, which is why Silva or anybody else would be wary to discount the skills Paul will bring into the ring.
“He’s training his ass off,” Woodley said. “He’s got KO power and he’s learned to throw that particular punch that he’s got timing on.”
When it comes to Silva and his boxing game, Woodley offers similar praise, especially after watching him over the years while both were champions in the UFC.
At 47, Silva would seem to be nearing the end of his fighting career but he’s somehow been rejuvenated since putting his full focus on boxing. He earned a win over multi-time boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in an eye-opening performance in June 2021 before demolishing fellow UFC veteran Tito Ortiz with a first-round knockout three months later.
“Anderson Silva, whatever he’s been doing recently in boxing after leaving the UFC tells you that he’s being recognized,” Woodley said. “You’re treated well, you feel good, you kind of sometimes fight differently. You see people get in happier situations.
“On the way out [of the UFC], he may have just been going through the motions and this new freedom that he has, which I have as well, it gives him that light to the flame underneath. [Now] you’ve got a motivated Anderson Silva.”
Woodley always admired Silva’s boxing skills even while he was competing in mixed martial arts, although he still touts one of his longtime teammates as the best he’s ever seen when throwing hands.
“Anderson Silva’s a good boxer,” Woodley said. “I would say he’s one of the best boxers in MMA. I feel like I’ve got a bias to say Jorge Masvidal is the best boxer that we’ve ever seen in MMA, based upon the fact that he pieced up KJ Noons in the worst way and KJ was supposed to be the best boxer and striker at the time. Every time he got his chance against Nate Diaz or anybody that was just striking, Yves Edwards, I was in the corner for that.
“Anderson Silva is up there with a few other guys for just pure boxing.”
More than anything, Woodley expects a great matchup even if the compliments being paid towards Paul and Silva have somehow taken a slight at him.
“I hear people saying ‘now [Jake Paul] fighting a real fighter.’ That s*** right there is funny,” Woodley said. “I think it’s a good fight. I’ll probably be there.