Tyron Woodley knows he doesn’t have anything left to prove. At age 40, with a decorated UFC career behind him, the former welterweight champion is content with all he’s accomplished. That’s why he’s only interested in accepting fights that personally excite him at this stage of his career, whether that means in boxing, kickboxing, or MMA.
But his latest near-miss with British influencer-turned-boxer KSI? That would’ve checked every box the ex-champ is looking for. Because for Woodley, their beef was personal.
“The contract negotiation was extremely disrespectful and made me want hurt him,” Woodley stated Monday at The MMA Hour . So I spoke to his manager. I was on a call with his manager and I said, ‘Never in my life have I been disrespected like this in a contract.'”
KSI recently knocked out professional esports player FaZe Temperrr at a Jan. 14 influencer boxing event at London’s Wembley Arena, however that opportunity was initially supposed to go elsewhere. Woodley stated that the original plans for Misfits Boxing were to have a headliner with Woodley vs. KSI, Logan Paul vs. Dillon Danis. Those plans were changed after Paul sustained a knee injury while in WWE. But Woodley claimed that he was still feeling disrespected for using tactics he said came from KSI.
Woodley said KSI’s team demanded a short-notice rehydration clause that was going to force him to weigh in at 175 pounds then come into fight night at no more than 185 pounds.
“So every advantage, they wanted,” Woodley said. This was terms added to the contract that we already had. So we agreed, I got a contract, and they went, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to do this, but KSI’s trainer wants to add this hydration thing.’ So when I went out to Dubai, I got in his trainer’s face too, I said, ‘I’m going to weigh f***ing 187. Homicide, that’s what I’m going to weigh. I’m not weighing no 185, and your boy is going to get f***** up.’
“Nobody will ever talk. Nobody wants to say nothing, because they’re about [online talk]. And I’m really about [real-life actions]. No matter how many lessons I have learned, no matter your experience, I am a man that will go to great lengths for you. It was getting boring .”
Ultimately, the rehydration debate didn’t even matter.
After Paul hurt his knee, KSI decided to fight Danis, instead. This left the ex-welterweight champion out of the picture. Woodley stated that despite having a signed contract, he did not find out about Danis’ switch through the Misfits Boxing Team. Instead, he discovered about KSI vs. Danis via the internet the same way everyone else.
Danis obviously didn’t end up fighting at all and was eventually replaced by FaZe Temperrr on late notice, but the entire situation left a bad taste in Woodley’s mouth.
Even more so, he said, because he never asked for the KSI fight in the first place.
“I kind of didn’t want to cry over spilled milk, because one thing I’ve got to recognize is that I’ve got to be careful with my legacy,” Woodley said. “I can’t be screaming and yelling and pounding to try to be able to fight these guys that are coming into it from a more entertainment standpoint, right? Particularly with the things I have done in my professional career.
“I never wanted the fight. Like, I never begged to fight. KSI wanted me to fight. Jake Paul mentioned me fighting him. KSI put out a poll. I didn’t put out a poll. A poll was conducted with over a million people and the results were overwhelming in favor of him fighting me. Dillon Danis [dropped] was [of the fight], and he didn’t call me. Why wasn’t I was the first person they called, right?
“And the only problem I’ve got with him, from a standpoint of ‘does this makes sense,’ yes, it makes a lot more sense to go out there and try to smoke somebody who’s a lesser opponent. You can’t miss me with the bulls ***.”
if you try to convince everyone to give you credit for being a fighter and promise to fight anyone anytime.
Woodley is moving on. Woodley stated that he would entertain the possibility of fighting KSI once again, but for a higher amount than what was offered in the initial offer.
And he scoffed at any comparisons being made between KSI and his old rival, fellow influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul, with whom Woodley lost twice to in 2021.
“Jake actually is fighting guys,” Woodley said. “Anderson Silva, me, Ben Askren — and Mike Perry on backup, he’s a better and tougher opponent than Tommy Fury, right? He will have a tough fight against Tommy Fury if he doesn’t turn up. So you really can’t ever act like he’s not really fighting real people.
“But on the other side, KSI is athletic but I think he’s just a little fearful, because he can punch hard, but some people are used to being a hammer and not so much used to being the nail. His management knew that he was the one who would be the main nail in our fight. If he wants to fight, it’s going to have to be double for my trouble.”