After a bout of pep-talk from retired big-hitters Randy “The Natural” Couture and Muhammad Ali, former UFC champion Tyron Woodley decided to turn his life around and follow in their footsteps. He’s now a spokesperson for the ” Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center “, is training for a rematch with UFC welterweight champion Demian Maia, and is being considered for a career in acting.
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The Jake Paul vs. MMA phenom (but… in a boxing match) continues this summer when the popular YouTube star takes on former UFC champion Tyron Woodley in August. There are many unanswered questions surrounding the force Paul (3-0, 3 KOs) has become in martial arts. The fact that his next fight will be against Woodley, 39, on Showtime PPV, a reputable channel in the boxing world, is certainly interesting. What is the long-term significance of these battles? And how can they influence the industry, especially when the most active professional fighters want their share? Of course, there is also temptation: How good is the boxer Jake Paul? For now, though, let’s focus on some questions we can already answer. And many of them revolve around Woodley. Who is this? What did he do? What stage of his career is he at to take this fight? And most importantly: Can he box? Here’s what you need to know about Paul’s next opponent.
1 A9 Woodley is one of the nicest neighborhoods…
Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (above) will be in action on the 28th. August in a boxing match against YouTuber Jake Paul. Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images Legally, one of the greatest of all time. ESPN recently ranked the best welterweights in the history of mixed martial arts, and Woodley was ranked number four. He fought for the Strikeforce title in 2012 after just three years of pro career, won the UFC title in 2016 and defended it four times before losing in 2019 to another all-time great fighter, Kamar Usman. Woodley is the real deal when it comes to MMA welterweight.
… But it wasn’t always praised for that
2 Connected And that bothers him. Woodley has long felt that he never received enough credit (or compensation, for that matter) for his accomplishments in MMA, leaving him with a large chip on his shoulder. This is largely due to the fact that when he was champion, UFC president Dana White was very critical of some of his performances. Woodley ultimately struggled to get the fans of the UFC behind him, and the sad reality of combat sports is that if you’re not the fans’ favorite, you run the risk of being underestimated. Woodley was probably a victim. And his frustration, disappointment, bitterness – whatever you want to call it – over this aspect of his MMA career deserves to be mentioned now because….
Woodley is putting his legacy on the line by taking this fight.
Ben Askren (left) helped Tyron Woodley prepare for the 2019 UFC 235 fight. Askren was knocked out in the first round by Jake Paul in April. Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images. In many ways, the situation is similar to that of Paul’s last opponent, Ben Askren. Askren, 36, is a former multiple MMA champion and an American Olympic wrestler. As good as Askren was, there were always questions about how good Askren really was because all of his successes were outside of the UFC. And when he switched to the UFC at the end of his career, things didn’t exactly go well. So when Askren was knocked out by Paul in April – in a 119-second out-of-contest fight – it had implications for his legacy. Askren went from an undefeated welterweight fighter to a man who wrestled in the UFC and was knocked out by a social media representative in a matter of years. No matter how you look at it, it’s a huge difference in a short amount of time. And if he accepts this fight, Woodley is in the same danger. Here’s a guy who always felt like his accomplishments were overlooked – and now he’s lost four fights in a row in the UFC and left the organization. If he suffered the same fate as Askren (who happens to be a good friend of his) and lost to Paul, it would be a devastating blow to the legacy he wants to leave behind. This could lead to people remembering Woodley as a loser against a Youtuber instead of winning the UFC title against Robbie Lawler and defending it against the likes of Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Till. That’s a lot of risk in one night.
So, can Woodley box?
Tyron Woodley (top right) wrestles, but he also has a strong right hand. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Woodley’s heart has always been with wrestling. He was a two-time NCAA All-American and Big 12 champion at the University of Missouri. However, he hasn’t always built on that foundation in MMA, especially in recent years. In fact, Woodley has scored just six touchdowns in his entire UFC career (16 fights), half of which came in one fight. Honestly, he was more of a striker than a grappler in MMA. Woodley has been working with boxing coach Eric Brown since 2008. Brown worked for many years at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles and trained with boxing champions such as Manny Pacquiao, James Toney and Carlos Hernandez, among others. Woodley has several punches to his credit, highlighted by a single leg kick. The same can’t be said for Askren, by the way. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest boxing news. For Woodley, the biggest question about this fight against Paul is probably not whether he can box? Most experts would probably say: He can box at least as well as Jake Paul. The biggest question is whether he wants to fight, period. This is a case Woodley has been working on for more than two years. It’s not just his loss, but he didn’t seem to want to be there most of the time. He’s fought some of the best welterweights in the world, and you get the feeling he was eager to end his contract with the UFC for the reasons mentioned above, but when a fighter loses the will to fight, there’s no guarantee he’ll ever come back. If he really does disappear… and how far he goes…. could prove to be a lot more important than how he shoots.
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