Woodley agrees, tattoo for rematch


Courtesy of HBO

Social media influencer Jake Paul defeats former UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, in fight on Aug. 29.

Griffin Traylor, Sports Editor

 YouTuber-turned-boxer, Jake Paul, boxed former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, on Aug. 29 in Paul’s hometown, Cleveland, Ohio on Showtime PPV. 

The fight was instigated by a locker room discussion between Paul and Woodley on April 17 at Paul’s fight with Ben Askren. Woodley was rooting for Askren, a former UFC fighter, at the match. After entering Paul’s locker-room to make sure hand wraps were legal, Paul instigated a conversation with Woodley. 

“You and Ben are going to have a lot in common after tonight,” Paul said. “Both got knocked out in the first round.”

A week prior to the interaction, Woodley tapped out to Vicente Luque, in the first round of UFC 260, due to a D’Arce choke. This marked a fourth straight loss for Woodley. After this comment by Paul, he and Woodley began an argument that blew up on social media. Fans then asked that a fight be sanctioned between the two.

Paul followed through with his claims of a first-round knockout over Askren, securing him a 3-0 record all by knock-out. 

Paul began his career by boxing YouTuber, Deji Olatunji, winning by TKO in the fifth round. Paul then turned professional and faced up against YouTuber AnEsonGib, winning by KO in the first round. Despite the lack of competition, this fight was counted on his record.

Paul’s second pro fight was against former three-time NBA slam dunk champion, Nate Robinson. Paul knocked out Robinson in the second round. This knockout soon became one of the most famous memes in boxing history. Paul then continued to fight former UFC fighter and NCAA wrestling champion, Ben Askren. Despite Askren’s stent in the UFC, fans still questioned the level of competition Paul was choosing. Throughout his UFC career, Askren was never considered an elite striker, and entering the fight Askren was outweighed by at least 20 pounds. 

After the fight, Paul’s record stood at 3-0 all by way of KO. Entering the Woodley, fight many questioned Paul’s ability to go the full eight rounds, considering he had never been past round two in a professional match.

Woodley entered the fight with a UFC record of 19-7-1, with seven of those wins coming by way of TKO. Despite Woodley’s former welterweight champion title, it had been three years since the star tasted a win. Throughout his UFC career, Woodley was well-regarded as a fighter, with substantially better KO power and striking than Askren. Similar to all of Paul’s former opponents, however, Woodley is not a boxer. 

The Paul vs Woodley match took place inside the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in Cleveland, Ohio. With what appeared to be a sold-out crowd, many big names stood out. These included comedian, Dave Chappelle, UFC lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier, former welterweight world champion, Andre Berto, former 2-divison world champion, Cory Spinks, Olympic boxers, Duke Ragan Oshae Jones and Delante Johnson and former lightweight world champion, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. 

Paul entered the fight at 6’0” 190 pounds compared to Woodley’s 5’9” 189½ pounds. Both boxers had a reach of 74”. The real discrepancy was in age, Woodley entered the fight at age 39 compared to Paul’s age of 24. 

Woodley walked to the ring accompanied by rapper O.T. Genasis to Woodley’s song “LET’S GO BIG” featuring O.T. Genasis. Paul later walked out accompanied by his 10-foot “robot” he calls ‘The Problem Bot’, a play on his nickname, “The Problem Child”.

Jake Paul showed up to the fight wearing orange trunks with LCD screens displaying his name across the waist and leg. Tyron Woodley fought in silver trunks with turquoise and pink trim out of the red corner. Tyron entered the ring with his signature UFC knee to chest jump, being addressed by his nickname “The Chosen One”. 

Out of the gates it was apparent that Woodley was out of his element in the ring. The fighter was very passive, costing him the round to Paul who foreshadowed the rest of the fight with his aggression. Woodley, however, got a pass from announcers for the first-round apathy due to this being his first time in a ring professionally. Woodley threw only six punches to Paul’s 21. 

The opening of the second round saw a more animated Woodley, despite a nice right hand by Paul at 2:46. Paul’s confidence thus far was shown as he looked away from Woodley with hands up towards the crowd. Movement between the boxers was drastic with Paul doing the majority. The lack of boxing skill for Woodley was shown with the boxer being unable to walk Paul into clean shots. Woodley’s lack of aggression resulted in distance that played to the advantage of Paul who was able to better see his big right hand. Again, allowing Paul to take the round with mostly jabs, as Woodley was seemingly stuck in first gear. 

Paul’s ringside then assured him that he was up 2-0, while Woodley’s focused on taking momentum in the third. 

The third round is when both fighters seemed to finally get comfortable. Paul advanced on more of his combos with a nice right uppercut followed by a left hook at 1:10. Paul began to link his hits together nicely. Woodley finally began throwing combinations, yet still did not counter affectively to any of Paul’s engagements. However, Woodley did begin working the jab more in that round. Woodley ended the round with a straight right at the bell resulting in the boxers’ exchanging words. 

In between rounds, fans got a glimpse at the replay showing that Woodley’s right connected square on Paul, yet Paul was still favored in the round. 

In the fourth round, Woodley’s aggression really cranked up. He forced more exchanges between the two and began walking Paul down and shutting off the ring. This is something many fans expected earlier from Woodley, who was proficient in the UFC for closing off parts of the ring to the opponent and attacking. The round saw Woodley rock Paul, with a big right hook. He then fell backwards, being saved from the audience by the ropes. Woodley immediately celebrated by throwing his right hand up in a circle. Although this round went to Woodley, it showed a major flaw in his boxing. After the big right hook, more experienced boxers would “go in for the kill”. However, Woodley did not and let Paul walk out of the round on shaky legs. 

Woodley opened the fifth round gleaming with confidence, landing a big uppercut while Paul’s hands were down. Paul opened the round, going for the body of Woodley more often with the jab. Paul also began wrapping Woodley up more often after combinations, while still holding his hands low. At this stage in the fight, Woodley certainly appeared to have both stamina and confidence on his side. Despite having the advantage, Woodley continued to play more passively to Paul who used this to his advantage, landing a big left hand at 1:12, regaining his own confidence. After the hit Woodley dropped his hands and began walking up to Paul while talking the hit off. Paul then smiled and licked both gloves, appearing to say, “let’s go.” Woodley and Paul then danced around the ring for the last minute. In the final seconds, both fighters started throwing wild punches at the bell, resulting in another face-to-face exchange. 

Paul seemingly lost most of his power in the sixth due to fatigue. During the round, Woodley went back to waiting for Paul instead of engaging. Paul again took this to his advantage, landing a five-punch combo after being booed by fans. Regardless of Paul’s punches holding less power, they still outweighed the lack of punches thrown by Woodley. The round ended with Woodley fainting a superman punch. 

The seventh round was much like the first, with Paul simply evading Woodley by dancing around the ring. Both fighters spent much of the round staring at one another and occasionally clinching up.

The eighth round opened with Woodley much being more enthusiastic in his stance. Paul again seemed to just be creating distance with his jab and Woodley’s passive nature played to Paul’s advantage there, too. Woodley had a few good hits in the eight although they did not come often. Paul ended the round holding up an imaginary muleta imitating a bullfighter. 

After the final round both fighters threw their hands up, expecting the win. Paul ran and jumped on the ropes facing the crowd in celebration. 

Final stats showed Paul landing 36-122 of his jabs and 35-85 of his power shots, totaling out to 71-207 shots with 22 body shots landed. Woodley landed 11-48 of his jabs and 41-115 of his power shots, totaling out to 52-163 shots with 6 body shots. 

Judges scored the bout 78-74 Paul, Dana DePaolo, 77-75 Paul, Jaime Garayua, 77-75 Woodley, Phil Rogers. This led to Jake Paul winning the match by split decision. 

After the match, Paul said, “It was a tougher fight than I expected, my legs felt weird since the locker room. I have nothing but respect for [Tyron]. My apologies to his team if anyone felt disrespected, it’s no hard feelings man.”

Paul disagreed with Phil Rogers assessment of the fight, being in favor of Woodley, using the microphone to call him out. Paul claimed that Woodley only hit him with one “real” shot the whole fight. Paul gave himself a grade of C- in the match, claiming that the debate of him not being a real fighter is over. Before handing the microphone over to Woodley, Paul used the platform to promote his foundation ‘Boxing Bullies.’ 

When handed the microphone, Woodley said, “If that was the second biggest paper view, then round two gone be bigger than that, I felt like I won the fight, but the fact that one judge gave me two rounds is laughable. I want an instant rematch, I hit him and the ropes held him up.”

Paul responded by saying, “Of course he wants a pay day”. 

Woodley quickly interrupted saying, “I want the fight I don’t want the pay day. You’re the one that got wobbled, if these f—ing ropes weren’t seven foot two, you would’ve went through the ropes.”

Paul then said if Woodley gets the agreed upon tattoo – “I love Jake Paul” – he would do a rematch, to which Woodley quickly agreed. Woodley’s manager then swiftly requested a contract to sanction the rematch. Paul, who brought a tattoo artist to the fight, due to a prior bet between the two, said he would send him over to Woodley’s locker room. 

In a later news conference, Woodley said he did not get the tattoo directly after the fight and that he wants to see paperwork. Despite this, Woodley said he will take Jake Paul’s word and plans to get the tattoo on his thigh.