Former Mizzou wrestling All-American Tyron Woodley to fight Jake Paul on Aug. 28
Another former Missouri wrestling star has accepted a fight against internet-celebrity-turned-professional-boxer Jake Paul.
Stepping out of mixed martial arts and into boxing will be St. Louis native Tyron Woodley, a former UFC welterweight champion, who competed for the Tigers from 2001-05.
Woodley and Paul will square off Aug. 28, per multiple online reports, with several cities under consideration to host the bout.
The 190-pound fight, with the number of rounds still to be determined, will be contested in a 20-by-20-foot ring with 10-ounce gloves. The event will be distributed by Showtime and air on pay-per-view. Fans are expected to be in attendance, per ESPN.
"Easiest fight of my career and biggest purse of my career all in one night," Woodley told ESPN of the matchup against Paul. "Basically, they brought me in to take out the trash. Can't wait to shut this (expletive) up. This is getting done for the culture, the whole MMA/boxing community, to rid this guy of combat sports.”
Paul is 3-0 as a pro boxer, winning all three fights via knockout in the first two rounds. The YouTuber with 20.4 million subscribers has yet to fight a trained boxer.
After winning his first fight over a fellow internet celebrity, Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson last November.
Paul's first fight against a trained combat-sports athlete of any kind occurred April 17, when he defeated Missouri wrestling alum Ben Askren in the first round.
Askren, a two-time national champion for the Tigers, is also a two-time MMA world champion with Bellator and ONE.
Unlike Woodley, Askren is better known for his combat abilities on the ground, such as wrestling and submissions, as opposed to striking, which many believe made him prone to getting knocked out by Paul.
Woodley's reputation in the UFC was made off striking, winning four fights with the company by knockout via punches.
The biggest knockout of the McCluer High School graduate's career came in July 2016, when a right hook to Robbie Lawler's jaw sent Lawler to the canvas. After a few finishing shots to make sure the referee stopped the fight, Woodley won the welterweight title.
The UFC's welterweight division is contested between 156-170 pounds. Woodley defended the belt four times before losing the championship to current titleholder Kamaru Usman in March 2019.
The loss to Usman started Woodley's four-fight losing streak to end his tenure with the UFC. After his most recent defeat to Vicente Luque on March 27, Woodley's contract with the company wasn't renewed, making him a free agent for the first time in eight years.
After Paul's knockout of Askren, critics pointed to Paul's lack of quality strikers as opponents, leading to speculation of Woodley stepping up to avenge his former Tiger teammate's loss.
Woodley, who was in Askren's corner for the fight, got into a verbal confrontation with his upcoming opponent while Paul was getting his hands wrapped in the locker room. The argument was filmed and set the stage for a future clash.
"I have a list of people I plan on shutting up with my fists," Paul said in a statement provided to ESPN. "And as I enter my fourth pro fight, I am excited to knock the first one off the list by challenging myself against a five-time UFC champion known for his knockout power. Tyron's a seasoned striker who has fought the best in the world. I certainly respect his career, but I will be sending Tyron into a permanent siesta on August 28."
The 2003 Big 12 Conference champion will work with longtime cornerman Eric Brown ahead of the bout against Paul. Woodley revealed in an Instagram live video Tuesday that he'll train with undefeated Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Andre Ward to prepare.
Woodley, who holds a 19-7-1 professional MMA record, will be making his professional boxing debut against Paul.
At Missouri, Woodley posted a record of 110-38. He was inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
Contact Eric Blum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.
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