Tyron Woodley has a pretty decorated resume in mixed martial arts. He has top quality wins and a two-year title reign in the UFC, in a division long known for having a deep talent pool.
While no one can deny that he’s had a great career, one of the main criticisms against him was how he tends to become a bit gun shy and hesitant during fights. This was more evident in the latter stages of his UFC run, and even more so during his recent boxing match with Jake Paul.
Despite Paul clearly not being as technical as his previous opponents and many of his training partners, Woodley admitted that his tentativeness boils down to him “overthinking” and “overanalyzing” during contests.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” Woodley told Submission Radio. “I can say I respected him too much, or I can look at Nate Robinson that walked in there and ran into a punch and got smoked, and my teammate Ben Askren kind of did the same thing, where his hands weren’t in the proper position. If he got punching power, no matter who it is, like, many people tried to knock Ben out. Robbie Lawler, and all these heavy-hitting punchers, and they weren’t able to with four-ounce gloves on. So, he was able to get it done with 10-ounce gloves on, and you gotta really think about that.
“So, I’m not saying that I was fearful. You saw me walking forward regardless. I got hit, I walked forward regardless. He’d miss, clip my gloves and clip me, and I still walked forward. So, I wasn’t scared of getting punched. My training partners punch a lot harder and are more skilled than him. But I just didn’t want to be reckless. And I think it’s a happy medium,” Woodley said. “I gotta find the line of not crossing the line and just being reckless and just not having my defense, but also not being as patient as I was.”
“Probably overthinking, overanalyzing,” Woodley said about not really pulling the trigger on that bout. “Sometimes you become so skilled, you learn so many techniques and defenses and counters, and you’re so cautious and you know what could come and you just really want to be perfect. And I think perfection sometimes gets in the way of mastery. You wanna master it. I wanna be a master at martial arts. So, when you seeking for mastery, you can’t confuse that with perfection. Sometimes you gotta get a little ugly and grimey and get in there and maybe get hit a couple of times to put yourself in a position to get that opening. Sometimes out in the open and in the safe terrains, there’s no knockout openings there. But you also can’t just do it every moment of the fight. You gotta pick and choose. And I think picking and choosing those moments is what makes it hard.”
Woodley landed the best shot of the fight, and was never in any true danger against Paul, but his inactivity cost him rounds and the eventual split decision. The former UFC champion now says he wants to “let go” and make sure things are different on this upcoming rematch.
“I just want to go out there and let go. And for me it’s never really been about someone beating me because they’re better because my time has passed or because they have better coaching. It’s always been about me for some reason letting go. When I let go, nobody can touch me. When I didn’t let go, I let people into the fight that never should’ve been in the fights with me.
“I beat the best guys, I beat the most vicious guys, the toughest guys, the people that on paper presented me with the most problems. And then I lost to three… I’m gonna go ahead and call everybody goofy. I lost to six goofy motherf—kers in the world. And that does not sit well,” he said. “Kamaru. Gilbert. Luque, I won’t call him goofy, I like Luque. Colby, Jake. Like, that’s kind of burning.
“I beat the natural born killer, the freaking Gorilla, Ruthless. All these guys that are vicious and, without even talking trash, their records speak for themselves. Defeated those guys in their craft. I brawled a brawler, I outstruck the striker. I out-pointfought the point fighter in Wonderboy. I did what they did best against them, and I beat them in it. And that means a lot to me. So, for me to lose to a whole bunch of goofies after that, it don’t sit well. So, this is about redemption for myself and just going out there and showing what I’m capable of.”