Tyron Woodley looking for the ‘Odell Beckham Jr. of MMA’ when judging PFL Challengers Series


Tyron Woodley knows there’s more to mixed martial arts than just what happens inside the cage.

As much as wins and losses are the ultimately deciding factor when it comes to any competition, the former UFC champion understands that a superior skill set doesn’t always lead to a prosperous career for any athlete.

He’s focused on the whole package because he will be sitting with fellow fighters like Quinton “Rampage”, Vitor Belfort, and Randy Couture at the PFL Challengers Series launch. Ray Lewis and Wiz Khalifa are also involved in deciding which card’s one-time winner of each promotion contract.

” I’m only looking for someone if they’ve got ‘it’,” Woodley explained to MMA Fighting. “When I say ‘it,’ I can guarantee you I can find on skill level alone, I can find maybe five receivers [in the NFL] that are the same skill level as Odell Beckham Jr. They can catch, they can run. Similar 40 [yard dash] times. Same vertical. Similar reach. You give them the same quarterback, the same route, 9 out of 10 times, they make the same catch. Maybe they can make it one handed but [Odell] is different. He’s special.

” I feel that you don’t have to just be a fighter anymore. If you want the No. 1 guy.”

Woodley has seen it firsthand throughout his entire career that truly successful fighters are often times a combination of incredible talent and a magnetic personality that draws people to watch them compete.

It’s not unusual for fighters to become champions but have little impact on the world, while others go on to be global stars.

It’s this rare combination that Woodley hopes to discover when he evaluates fighters in the PFL Challengers Series which begins Friday on FUBO TV.

” I just feel that this is the first Challengers Series. We’re going say, we found him!” Woodley stated. “Everybody likes the credit to discover somebody before they were big. I like it. It’s a favorite of ‘Rampage. Vitor likes it. Wiz likes it. Wiz had Ty Dolla $ign. Vitor was a fan of Cesar [Ferreira], and after The Ultimate Fighter showed, Rampage had many other guys in his midst. Randy Couture, shout out to Xtreme Couture, they’re killing everybody and Xtreme Couture is Randy’s gym.

“So everybody likes to be able to say ‘I told you so and I saw it’ and we all like to think we have that eye. It’s our goal to find someone who excels in every area. This is what I’m looking for, because it seems like there’s such an eclectic group of judges

Each Challengers Series event will feature four fights with only one contract handed out at the end of every event with some fighters moving onto the PFL season with others inked to developmental deals to allow more time before actually entering the season long format.

For those who make it directly into the PFL, an opportunity awaits them for a chance to become a millionaire by winning at the end of the season.

All other enticements aside, Woodley knows that money talks and that kind of format will definitely draw a lot of attention for prospects interested in joining the PFL.

“We may find the Odell of MMA — when you put a million dollars on the line, you get a lot of people to come forward,” Woodley said. People may be thinking about other destinations, but if you give them a million dollars upfront they won’t go anywhere else for long. People will bring everything. They will put forth their best effort. This is your once chance. I’m telling you.

“It’s well-known that UFC champions don’t make millions. While some of them make a lot of money, many don’t. So when you think about that and you offer that up front, you better do everything in your power. This could be your moment to stand out. This will put you on the platform. All that hard work you did is going to pay off. You get to do all that and you got a bag.”