Each of Jake Paul’s three opponents have yet to hear the final bell or subsequently appear in another pro fight.
Tyron Woodley looks to buck the trend on every level when he faces the social media influencer and current cruiserweight contender later this summer.
The former UFC welterweight champion has turned to boxing to further his combat sports career at age 39 and having lost his last four MMA fights. That said, Missouri’s Woodley views his August 29 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner versus Paul (3-0, 3KOs)—which will take place at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland—as a fresh start rather than as a last stop.
“I didn’t get in this to get a quick payday, to get in and get out,” Woodley insisted while discussing the upcoming PPV event. “This is an instream to boxing for me, for sure.”
It’s hard to fault those who view this as a cash-out opportunity for Woodley (19-7-1, 7KOs in MMA matches) will undoubtedly earn his best payday ever. He is also at a statistical disadvantage, 15 years Paul’s junior as well as giving away four inches in height and natural body weight. Woodley campaigned in the 170-pound welterweight division throughout his 12 combined years on the Strikeforce and UFC fight circuits.
His pro boxing debut will take place at a maximum catchweight of 190 pounds, around which Paul has weighed in each of his three fights and none lasting longer than two rounds. Still, Paul is only a slight betting favorite according to opening odds that have been offered by several sportsbooks. The tight lines speak to the level of respect Woodley continues to command as the influencer’s most experienced combat sports opponent to date.
Woodley has absorbed the teachings of several pro boxing trainers, including well-documented time spent in the Las Vegas gym of Hall of Fame former five-division champ and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Even in dedicating himself to the craft, Woodley only sees upside to implementing new elements to his already well-rounded skill set.
“I plan to continue to fight boxing. It’s not going to hurt me to just focus just on striking, focus on my punching, my positioning, my defense, just being mobile,” notes Woodley, an All-American collegiate wrestler who emerged as one of the most effective strikers during his time in UFC. “When I fight my next mixed martial arts fight, I’m going to go in with more tools and be sharper.”
Of course, any future in MMA or even in boxing is something that will come to the forefront on August 30.
“One thing we do too many times… when you think too far beyond the fight in front of you, that’s when shit goes in the other direction. For me, this is the biggest fight of my life because it’s the next fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox