Tyron Woodley's path at redemption against Jake Paul on December 18 will require him to be healthy, something that he believes he wasn't in their last fight.
Back in August, Woodley and Paul fought to a split decision. During the bout, it appeared that Woodley had Paul hanging by the ropes. The former UFC Welterweight Champion, however, was unable to secure a win. Woodley stated on The MMA Hour that at some point during the fight, he injured himself. That held him back from finishing the fight.
“My shoulder was f*cking sore,” Woodley said (h/t MMA Fighting). “I ain’t gonna lie. I wanted to [knock him out] but my shoulder was swollen before and I was just kind of swinging on pure thug energy from MMA, not just giving a hell.”
“When you watch the punch, I punched him, he sprung off the ropes and he went back into my arm. So it kind of hype extended my elbow on my shoulder so at that point my moneymaker was at jeopardy so I had to try and walk him down, make him punch so I could punch straight shots. Straight shots off of his punches, very similar to what I had to do against Demian Maia when I tore my labrum in that fight.
Woodley made his MMA debut in 2009. A two-time NCAA All-American, Woodley fought for Strikeforce and made his UFC debut in 2013. He went 9-6-1 with the promotion, beating Robbie Lawler in 2016 for the welterweight title. Woodley defended the title four times, losing it to Kamaru Usman in 2019. Including the Usman fight, Woodley has lost four in a row. "The Chosen One's" last fight was a submission loss to Vicente Luque in March.
The injury Woodley was referring to was a torn labrum against Maia in 2017. Fighting out of his contract, Woodley decided to give boxing a shot. Woodley truly believes he won the fight, and the loss eats at him to this day.
"I feel like I won the fight," Woodley went on to say. “I went back and looked at the fight — I won round four, he never won a round after that. So that’s four, five, six, seven, eight. That’s five [rounds]. How would he win the fight if it should have technically been a knockdown. He should have technically got the count but he didn’t. How did he win the fight? I was just so confused.”
With just about two weeks to prepare, Woodley will get his chance at revenge. Paul's original opponent, Tommy Fury, pulled out of the fight due to injury. Woodley stepped up right away and Paul accepted, even offering Woodley money if he knocked him out this time. The rematch takes place inside the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.