Tyron Woodley knows he has nothing left to prove. At 40, with a decorated UFC career behind him, the former welterweight champion is happy with all he has achieved. That’s why he’s only interested in accepting fights that personally excite him at this point in his career, whether it’s in boxing, kickboxing or MMA.
But his latest near miss with the British influencer-turned-boxer KSI? It would have ticked all the boxes the ex-champ is looking for. Because for Woodley, their beef was personal.
“The contract negotiation was very disrespectful and it made me want to hurt him,” Woodley said Monday. MMA hour. “So I said that to his manager. I was on the phone with his manager and I said, ‘Never in my life have I been so disrespected in a contract.’
KSI recently knocked out professional esports player FaZe Temperrr in an influencer boxing event on Jan. 14 at Wembley Arena in London, but that opportunity was originally set to go elsewhere. Woodley said the initial plans for the Misfits Boxing event were for a double headliner with him against KSI and Logan Paul against Dillon Danis. Those plans eventually changed when Paul suffered a knee injury in WWE, but even before that, Woodley said he felt disrespected by tactics he believed came from KSI’s side.
Woodley said the KSI team demanded a short-notice rehydration clause that would force him to weigh 175 pounds and then fight at night at no more than 185 pounds.
“So all the perks, they wanted,” Woodley said. “And these are terms that were added after we had already agreed. So we agreed, I got a contract, and they said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to do this, but the KSI coach wants to add this hydration thing.’ So when I went to Dubai, I also came across his trainer’s face, I said, ‘I’m going to weigh 187 fucking. Homicide, that’s what I’m gonna weigh. I don’t weigh 185, and your boy is going to fuck up.
“No one will ever speak. Nobody wants to say anything, because they’re on the point [online talk]. And I’m really on point [real-life actions]. No matter what lessons I’ve taken, no matter what you’ve seen, when I’m on, you know I’m really a guy that’s gonna stab your face with a whole fuckin’ hand, an elbow, a kick foot or whatever it takes. So I just got fed up.
In the end, the rehydration debate didn’t even matter.
Once Paul injured his knee, KSI opted to fight Danis instead, leaving the former welterweight champion as the odd man out of the equation. Woodley said that despite a signed contract, he did not find out about the change to the Misfits Boxing team; instead, he discovered KSI vs. Danis on the internet, the same as everyone else.
Danis obviously didn’t end up fighting at all and was eventually replaced by FaZe Temperrr on late notice, but the whole situation left a bad taste in Woodley’s mouth.
More so, he said, because he never asked for the KSI fight in the first place.
“I didn’t want to cry over spilled milk because one thing I have to recognize is that I have to be careful about my heritage,” Woodley said. “I can’t scream and yell and pound to try to be able to fight these guys coming in from a more entertaining point of view, can I? Especially with what I have already done in my career.
“I never wanted the fight. Like, I never begged to fight. KSI asked me to fight. Jake Paul mentioned I was fighting him. KSI put out a poll. I didn’t He didn’t run a poll He put out a poll of a million voters and they said he should fight me Even when Dillon Danis [dropped] outside [of the fight], he never called me. Why wasn’t I the first person they called, was I?
“And the only issue I have with him, from a ‘does it make sense’ standpoint, yeah, it makes a lot more sense to go out there and try to smoke somebody who is a lesser opponent. But when you walk around and try to get everyone to recognize you as a real fighter and say you’ll fight anyone at any time, I can miss you with the *** bulls.
For now, Woodley has moved on. He said he would be willing to accept offers to fight KSI again, but only for more money than was offered the first time around.
And he scoffed at all the comparisons made between KSI and his former rival, fellow influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul, to whom Woodley lost twice in 2021.
“Jake actually fights with guys,” Woodley said. “Anderson Silva, me, Ben Askren – and Mike Perry as backup, he’s a better and tougher opponent than Tommy Fury, isn’t he? So he has a tougher fight if Tommy doesn’t show up. So you really can never act like he’s not actually fighting real people.
“But on the other hand, KSI is athletic but I think he’s just a bit fearful because he can hit hard, but some people are used to being a hammer and not so used to being the nail. He was going to be the highlight of our fight, and I think he and his management team knew that. If he wants to fight, it’s going to have to be double for my pain.