On paper, the argument for Tyron Woodley to beat Jake Paul in their coming boxing match, this August, seems like a pretty obvious one. On the one side, there’s a former UFC champion, noted for his punching power. On the other, there’s a former YouTuber and Disney actor with a 3-0 boxing record—whose most notable win is longtime Woodley training partner Ben Askren. On closer inspection, however, things get a little more difficult.
Even just three years removed from his title reign atop the welterweight division – and always known for his low output – Woodley’s recent performances have been a harsh lesson in valuing singular offensive bursts over consistent control and fighting offense. Over his last four bouts, Woodley has been outlanded 114 to 327 in significant strikes.
Once a fighter whose vaunted KO ability kept opponents at bay and kept him well out of danger, now strikers who are willing to pressure Woodley and eat his shots have found a rival who can regularly be drowned with pressure.
That’s the kind of reality that has even UFC president Dana White questioning whether the ‘Chosen One’ still has enough left in the tank to beat Jake Paul. Speaking recently to former UFC talent Mike ‘Quick’ Swick on the fighter’s Real Quick podcast, White revealed that while he’s still picking T-Wood to get the victory, he’s far from confident about it (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I’d have to go with Woodley by knockout,” White told Swick, when asked for a prediction. “Listen, Woodley should knock him out but again the Tyron Woodley you talk about that was the champ isn’t the same f*cking guy he was four years ago.”
“You tell me when the last time you saw Woodley look like Woodley,” White added when asked about the odds ahead of the bout which have the UFC vet riding as a slight underdog.
“Tyron Woodley has punching power and obviously he’s put a lot of dudes to sleep in his career,” White said. “Tyron Woodley doesn’t look like the Tyron Woodley of the past that was putting everybody to sleep.
“He hasn’t won a fight in three years. He’s going to be 40 years old. But I will give it to [Jake Paul], he’s at least stepping in there with a guy that can punch.”
Having turned 39 in April of this year, Woodley recently fought out his contract with the world’s largest MMA promotion, finishing his time in the Octagon with four straight losses—having also dropped every round in each of those fights. While he defended his belt four times in the UFC, the former Strikeforce title contender revealed that the purse for his boxing bout against Paul will be the largest of his career. Hopefully for him, it marks a return to his former winning ways as well.