Jake Paul's next foe will be a former UFC champion.
Paul will meet Tyron Woodley in a boxing match later this summer, both Paul and Woodley told ESPN. The 190-pound match is currently slated for Aug. 28, sources say. Several host cities are still under consideration, per sources, though an official announcement on the date and location is expected shortly.
The fight will be a pro bout -- Paul's fourth; Woodley's first -- and will be contested in a 20x20 ring with 10-ounce gloves. The event, which will be distributed by Showtime, will air on pay-per-view. Fans are expected to be in attendance, sources say.
The bout was first reported by MMA Island.
This will mark the second time in a row that Paul faces a former UFC fighter in a boxing match. He knocked out Woodley's longtime teammate and friend Ben Askren in less than two minutes back in April. In fact, Woodley was in Askren's corner for that fight and even got into a verbal confrontation with Paul and his team before the fight while Paul was getting his hands wrapped in the locker room. That argument, which was caught on camera, planted the seed for this showdown.
"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.
"Maybe this time [UFC president] Dana White will actually be a man and put his money on his former champion instead of trying to undermine my success like a jealous ex. Influencer vs MMA: let's get it on. It's showtime."
Woodley, who won the UFC welterweight title in 2016 and successfully defended it four times, recently fought out his UFC contract, which made him a free agent. Once considered the best 170-pounder on the planet, he represents the biggest step up in competition Paul has ever faced, despite the fact that he has lost his last four MMA fights and is 39. Woodley parted ways with the promotion with a 19-7-1 record.
White, who has been the target of Paul's trash talk in recent months, insinuated on Mike Tyson's podcast before the Askren fight that he would bet a million dollars on Askren to beat Paul but later said he wasn't serious about it.
Paul, 24, one of the most popular social media influencers in the world, has made a lot of noise in the boxing world since his pro debut in January 2020. First, he TKO'd fellow influencer AnEsonGib in the first round. He knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in the first round late last year, and KO'd Askren two months ago.
This will mark his debut on Showtime, with which he recently signed a multifight deal.
"In just his fourth professional bout, Jake is taking on much tougher competition than any boxer does at a similar stage of their career, which usually includes extended amateur experience," Paul adviser and CEO of BAVAFA Sports Nakisa Bidarian told ESPN. "Floyd Mayweather, who was 84-9 as an amateur, entered his fourth professional fight against an opponent that was making his boxing debut and ended his career at 0-4. Moreover, in his 50th pro fight, after going 49-0, he fought Conor McGregor, who was making his boxing debut.
"Mike Tyson's fourth opponent was 1-0 and ended his career at 2-23. Jake is taking on a decorated MMA champion, known for his knockout power. And please remember it is mixed martial arts, which if you go on the UFC website and look at their intro-to-MMA, boxing is the first martial art listed. Tyron Woodley has been training boxing for much longer than Jake has. This fight is going to be fireworks. Thank you Showtime for believing in our vision and partnering with Jake to do this."
According to Bidarian, he and Paul will serve as executive producers of the event. Woodley's contract was negotiated by First Round Management CEO Malki Kawa.
"Easiest fight of my career and biggest purse of my career all in one night," Woodley said. "Basically, they brought me in to take out the trash. I can't wait to shut this b---- up. This is getting done for the culture, the whole MMA community and boxing community, to rid this guy of combat sports."
Paul and Woodley are scheduled to face off for the first time Thursday in Miami, per Bidarian. That will take place just days before Paul's older brother, Logan, also a social media influencer turned aspiring boxer, takes on Mayweather in an exhibition boxing bout.
"We are excited to launch our partnership with Jake Paul, and this intriguing Paul vs. Woodley event is sure to be one of the most talked about events of the year," Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, told ESPN. "Jake has an incredible ability to capture the attention of his fans and detractors alike. Tyron Woodley is an accomplished professional fighter. Jake's willingness to take on an experienced pro like Tyron tells you everything you need to know about Jake's goals and ambitions: he welcomes challenges; he embraces risk and he seeks to build a legacy in the sport of boxing.
"Tyron Woodley will present a considerable challenge, which makes for a can't-miss fight."