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Tyron Woodley on failed KSI fight: ‘Never in my life have I been disrespected like this’

Tyron Woodley knows he doesn’t have anything left to prove. At age 40, with a decorated UFC career behind him, the former welterweight champion is content with all he’s accomplished. That’s why he’s only interested in accepting fights that personally excite him at this stage of his career, whether that means in boxing, kickboxing, or MMA.

But his latest near-miss with British influencer-turned-boxer KSI? That would’ve checked every box the ex-champ is looking for. Because for Woodley, their beef was personal.

“The negotiation of the contract was very disrespectful, and it made me want to hurt him,” Woodley said Monday on The MMA Hour. “So I told this to his manager. I was on a call with his manager and I said, ‘Never in my life have I been disrespected like this in a contract.’”

KSI recently knocked out professional esports player FaZe Temperrr at a Jan. 14 influencer boxing event at London’s Wembley Arena, however that opportunity was initially supposed to go elsewhere. Woodley said the initial plans for the Misfits Boxing event were for a double headliner featuring him vs. KSI and Logan Paul vs. Dillon Danis. Those plans eventually changed when Paul suffered a knee injury in WWE, but even before that, Woodley said he felt disrespected by tactics he claimed came from KSI’s side.

Woodley said KSI’s team demanded a short-notice rehydration clause that was going to force him to weigh in at 175 pounds then come into fight night at no more than 185 pounds.

“So every advantage, they wanted,” Woodley said. “And this was terms that were added after we had already agreed. So we agreed, I got a contract, and they went, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to do this, but KSI’s trainer wants to add this hydration thing.’ So when I went out to Dubai, I got in his trainer’s face too, I said, ‘I’m going to weigh f***ing 187. Homicide, that’s what I’m going to weigh. I’m not weighing no 185, and your boy is going to get f***** up.’

“Nobody will ever talk. Nobody wants to say nothing, because they’re about [online talk]. And I’m really about [real-life actions]. No matter what lessons I’ve taken, no matter what you’ve seen, when I’m on, you know that I’m really a guy that’ll go through your face with a fucking whole hand, elbow, kick, or whatever the hell it takes. So I just got tired of it.”

Ultimately, the rehydration debate didn’t even matter.

Once Paul injured his knee, KSI opted to fight Danis instead, leaving the former welterweight champ as the odd man out of the equation. Woodley said that despite have a signed contract, he didn’t find out about the switch from the Misfits Boxing team; rather, he found out about KSI vs. Danis from the internet, the same way as everyone else.

Danis obviously didn’t end up fighting at all and was eventually replaced by FaZe Temperrr on late notice, but the entire situation left a bad taste in Woodley’s mouth.

Even more so, he said, because he never asked for the KSI fight in the first place.

“I kind of didn’t want to cry over spilled milk, because one thing I’ve got to recognize is that I’ve got to be careful with my legacy,” Woodley said. “I can’t be screaming and yelling and pounding to try to be able to fight these guys that are coming into it from a more entertainment standpoint, right? Especially with what I’ve done already in my career.

“I never wanted the fight. Like, I never begged to fight. KSI asked me to fight. Jake Paul mentioned me fighting him. KSI put out a poll. I didn’t put out a poll. He put out a poll with a million voters and they said he should fight me. Even when Dillon Danis [dropped] out [of the fight], he never called me. Why wasn’t I was the first person they called, right?

“And the only problem I’ve got with him, from a standpoint of ‘does this makes sense,’ yes, it makes a lot more sense to go out there and try to smoke somebody who’s a lesser opponent. But when you walk around and try to get everybody to give you the credit as a real fighter, and say you’ll fight anybody anytime, you kind of can miss me with the bulls***.”

For now, Woodley has moved on. He said he’d be willing to entertain offers to fight KSI again but only for more money than was being offered the first time around.

And he scoffed at any comparisons being made between KSI and his old rival, fellow influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul, with whom Woodley lost twice to in 2021.

“Jake actually is fighting guys,” Woodley said. “Anderson Silva, me, Ben Askren — and Mike Perry on backup, he’s a better and tougher opponent than Tommy Fury, right? So he has a harder fight if Tommy doesn’t show up. So you really can’t ever act like he’s not really fighting real people.

“But on the other side, KSI is athletic but I think he’s just a little fearful, because he can punch hard, but some people are used to being a hammer and not so much used to being the nail. He was going to be the nail in our fight, and I think him and his management staff knew that. If he wants to fight, it’s going to have to be double for my trouble.”

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