LOS ANGELES — Confidence oozed from Tyron Woodley as he shared a stage with Jake Paul on Tuesday afternoon to announce their Aug. 29 cruiserweight fight in Cleveland.
"I saw a man who doesn't really have fight left in him," Paul said, beating the MMA fighter to the punch. "I saw a man who's been defeated multiple times now and will be finished and sent into retirement by a Youtube Disney star boxer."
"Keyword, you saw a man, something you're not," Woodley counterpunched. "You're a problem child."
Tuesday afternoon's news conference, held at The Novo in downtown L.A., brought the expected verbal fireworks between Woodley, who will be making his boxing debut, and Paul, who will be fighting for the fourth time.
But there was reflection, too, from the 39-year-old Woodley, who told the story of an upbringing in Ferguson, Mo., where he went from broke and evicted to MMA stardom and a lavish life that provided his children with an upbringing that he didn't get to experience.
"My son's a 4.0 [GPA] student getting recruited by Yale, Division I prospect [in football]," Woodley said. "My daughter's a phenomenal artist; she's T-Pain Jr. She will blow your mind at 6 years old on autotune. My son's a select soccer player.
"They not in a situation I grew up in, but I grew up in a situation of love, support. They grew up in a situation where they didn't have to want for anything, and they still got their humility, and they're still appreciative. So, they my biggest flex."
Woodley needed a new journey, he said, a new career. Boxing offered him something that UFC, where he had a 19-7-1 record, no longer did.
"This is fun for me," he said. "MMA wasn't fun for me for the last five years. . . I weigh 190 [pounds], are you kidding me? I've been killing myself to make [weight at] 170 for all these years. So now, I'm gonna go out there refreshed, renewed and ready to turn up."
Multiple times throughout the news conference, he said that win or lose, he plans to be in boxing for a while (his opponent will have some thoughts on the subject later). He's received training from Floyd Mayweather, who adjusted Woodley's mindset and tweaked his stances to better prepare him for the fight. Mayweather, of course, knows the Paul brand well, having fought Jake's fellow YouTubing brother Logan in Miami in June.