Tyron Woodley is getting a second opportunity that he hoped for but didn’t anticipate when he faces Jake Paul on Saturday in a rematch of their August showdown that Paul won by a narrow split decision. Woodley stepped in on short notice when Paul’s original opponent, Tommy Fury, pulled out with a rib injury.
The former UFC welterweight champion was the first to push Paul beyond two rounds in his brief boxing career and had the social media maven on the ropes throughout their first meeting, but Paul escaped with a victory. The rematch has a tagline “Leave No Doubt,” and Woodley believes that Paul’s pride will be his downfall Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
“My career is about shutting people the f— up,” Paul said at Thursday’s news conference. Those words rang inside Woodley’s head and showed a crack in the facade of the undefeated 24-year-old that he plans to take full advantage of.
“He got humbled because he really lost (the first fight),” Woodley said to a group of reporters after the news conference. “He’s fighting this fight out of pride because he gives so many f—s about what people think. I give zero. I’ve been reaching around and looking and I have not found one f— to give about what people think about me.
“He cares what people think about him. I know he cares too much and his pride will get him in trouble on Saturday.”
Despite the challenge Woodley presented, Paul aims to silence the naysayers in the rematch. Although he won and could have left Woodley behind, he opted for the rematch. Unlike the first fight, this fight is devoid of the animosity demonstrated in their initial meeting. Woodley wouldn’t go as far to suggest that he respected Paul as an individual or a fighter, but it’s clear that he doesn’t feel the same way as he did back in August.
“I don’t hate him,” Woodley said. “I have no feelings toward him. I don’t dislike him. I’m indifferent but I hate that he thinks he can beat me and I hate that he can walk around and say that he did.”
Many were surprised by Woodley’s ability to transition from mixed martial artist to boxer when he and Paul first met. The fight was a tenuous nip and tuck affair where Woodley was responsible defensively and prevented his opponent from collecting his fourth consecutive knockout. He stunned Paul in the fourth round with a right hand, the biggest punch landed in the fight, but couldn’t quite finish the job.
He’ll get that opportunity again Saturday.
“I’m going for a knockout, and if I’m going for the knockout for eight rounds straight I should inevitably win, and that’s what I want,” he said. “But my experience tells me to not go out of my way to hunt for the knockout because that’s usually the way you exhaust your energy and get hit with something you weren’t meant to get hit by.”
He’s laser-focused on the job at hand and doesn’t care to talk about the prospect of a trilogy fight or future boxing opportunities. All that matters is that he’s getting a second chance when he wasn’t supposed to all because someone’s pride got the best of him.
And for that, Jake Paul must pay.
“All I can focus on is Saturday night. He thinks he can beat me and I’m going to beat his ass.”