Tyron Woodley on Rigors of Being UFC Champ: “There’s Only So Many Champions and So Many PPV Dates”

Los Angeles, CA — To hear Tyron Woodley tell it, his boxing venture against pseudo-celebrity Jake Paul is not a one-time deal.

“It’s never been a one-off thing,” Woodley told media outlets including Cageside Press following a press conference promoting the boxing match, which takes place August 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. “I was going to box before I even had this opportunity. Me and my manager, we had already been talking about being a pure free agent, and really going and fighting where ever I wanted to, when I wanted to.”

When and where he wants to seems to be the key point, as Woodley went on to add “not because I own the belt and they need to fill a PPV and the gate. Now I gotta fight injured, ready, not ready, depressed— no matter what, you gotta f*cking fight. You gotta defend the strap. There’s only so many champions and so many Pay-per-View dates, and all of them need to have a strap or a five round fight, right or wrong.”

Woodley (19-7-1) defended the UFC’s welterweight title four times during his run as champ, winning three and fighting to a draw with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the pair’s first fight. He frequently butted heads with UFC President Dana White about his willingness to fight.

“There’s been times when I fought injured. I can’t remember the last time I was really healthy going into a fight, mentally, physically,” Woodley continued. After fighting while dealing with “all the bullsh*t, all the politics, this is a whole new breath of air for me. I’m excited. It’s so positive.”

Woodley is even getting positive feedback from the fans, but cautioned that “I’m not getting too caught up in that either, because in five minutes, people can say you’re the worst person on earth, but at the end of the day, I’m happy and I’m free.”

On top of the positivity, Woodley no longer needs to cut weight, at least not as much — another benefit. And it seems as if that positivity carries over into his thoughts on opponent Jake Paul, who has been derided for never actually boxing a boxer. Thus far, Paul’s professional career consists of wins over a Youtube Creator, an NBA player, and multi-promotion MMA champ Ben Askren, best known for his wrestling ability.

Jake Paul, however, is “an athlete,” Woodley noted. “They wrestled in Ohio, his brother placed in State. That’s not easy. Ohio is the fourth or fifth best— I recruited. I was a wrestling coach. We going PA first, then we’re going New York, then we’re going California, and Ohio’s right in over New Jersey. So to place in and go wrestle Division I, don’t let the smooth takes fool you. Don’t let the Disney, and the blogger, and the ‘I’m just bucket listing’ — he’s an athlete.”

What Paul is doing, believes Woodley, is “really trying to go out and minimize the pressure. By minimizing what he’s doing and how he’s preparing, until we get to the press conference. On the internet, he says ‘oh I’m going to knock out the five time champion.'” There, he’s giving Woodley his due. Side by side, Woodley continued, Paul has called him washed up and old. “But I’m still stronger, and I’ve been hit with everything you can get hit with, and I’ve put a lot of people down. World class Hall of Famers.”

Watch the full media appearance from Tyron Woodley above.