Tyron Woodley isn’t looking at his boxing match against Jake Paul as a one-off opportunity for a cash grab.
Instead, the former UFC welterweight champion has designs on pursuing more fights in the Sweet Science after his Aug. 29 matchup with the YouTube personality.
“I didn’t get into this for a quick payday to get in and get out,” Woodley said during a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday to promote his fight with Paul. “This is a steppingstone for me. This is my entry into boxing for sure.”
Woodley will face Paul in the main event of a Showtime Sports card at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The event will air via pay-per-view on Showtime beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Paul is 3-0 as a professional boxer, while Woodley will be making his debut in the sport.
Now 39 years old, Woodley parted ways with the UFC following a four-bout losing streak. He last appeared in the Octagon at UFC 260, where he was choked out by Vicente Luque in the opening stanza on March 27.
In preparation for his transition to a new discipline, Woodley has been doing some training with Floyd Mayweather, who recently just competed against Jake’s brother, Logan Paul, in an exhibition match.
According to Woodley, the sessions with Mayweather will benefit him beyond his upcoming fight.
“To get an opportunity to work out with Floyd Mayweather, [only] an idiot would not take advantage of that situation,” Woodley said. “He showed me stuff not specifically to defeat Jake but to be a world class boxer in general — techniques, positions, placements, head positioning, movements. In MMA sometimes we waste energy, we do a lot of shucking and jiving. Everything I do, everything I throw is gonna hurt. My feints are gonna hurt.”
While Woodley admits that he foresees more boxing in his future, it sounds as though he hasn’t ruled a return to MMA — and he believes his specialized training will help him down the road.
“I plan to continue to fight in boxing, to be honest. It’s not gonna hurt me to focus just on striking, focus on my positioning, my punches, my defense. So when I fight in a mixed martial arts fight, I go to the fight with more tools and be sharper,” Woodley said.
For now, though, the former UFC champ isn’t looking to far ahead. He’s already seen Paul finish training partner Ben Askren. Woodley knows not to take an opponent lightly.
“…When you think too far beyond the fight that’s in front of you, that’s when the s—t goes the other direction,” he said. “For me, this is the biggest fight of my life because it’s the next fight.”