The pair first came face-to-face when Woodley was cornering his friend Ben Askren for his own fight against Paul and a dressing-room row soon escalated into a fight contract
Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley will finally square off tomorrow night after months of build-up that has included a dressing room dust-up, bets and claims of cheating.
Paul is 3-0 as a professional boxer and is already eyeing up future bouts with the likes of Conor McGregor, Tommy Fury and eventually Canelo Alvarez.
But first he must earn his fourth win on the big stage, and he faces far and away his most difficult fight in the guise of former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Woodley is a decorated former MMA fighter, with five wins in UFC title fights during a reign that ended just two years ago at the hands of arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today; Kamaru Usman.
Since losing the belt, it’s been a tough road for the Missouri native, losing his subsequent bouts to Gilbert Burns, Colby Covington and Vicente Luque before being cut from the promotion.
But none of those three men would fear the challenge of Paul, and Woodley has been angling for the fight with his YouTuber rival since an altercation at Paul’s last bout with Ben Askren.
Woodley was once friendly with Jake’s older brother Logan, appearing on his Impaulsive podcast before his final title defence, but the relationship was never too close with Jake.
And it soured significantly in the hours before Paul stepped into the ring with Askren.
As Paul was having his hands wrapped in the changing room before the fight, Woodley came in to check on the gloves and make sure Askren’s team, which he was a part of, was satisfied, as is customary in boxing.
But Paul, never one to avoid a confrontation, decided to pick a fight with the former MMA fighter, imploring him to bet on his friend Askren if he was so confident.
The row escalated when when one of Paul’s coaches and former boxer J’Leon Love mocked Woodley for his lack of boxing knowledge.
After the fight, which Paul easily won in the first round, Woodley went straight to the media to demand a bout with the YouTuber, which he was surprised to be granted.
He had just been released by the UFC and so the fight was quickly agreed and then announced at the start of the summer, just in time for Paul’s brother Logan’s fight week with Floyd Mayweather.
Paul was also discussing potential fights with long-time rival Dillon Danis, and a number of MMA fighters while picking rows with UFC greats Kamaru Usman and Daniel Cormier.
Woodley and Paul first came face-to-face as opponents in Miami at the Fifth Street Gym with the boxing media all in town to cover Logan’s exhibition bout with boxing legend Mayweather.
The duo then headed back to training camp before an official date was announced for August 29, with both men meeting for a set of press conferences in Los Angeles and the host city of Cleveland to promote the fight.
It was in LA that Woodley was confronted with the prospect of a bet, having turned down the chance to put his purse on the line at their Miami meeting.
Paul instead offered a more light-hearted wager, where the loser of the fight would have to get a tattoo declaring their love for the winner after the bout.
Woodley first asked the crowd of journalists in attendance, before agreeing to the wager, which has now been set in stone with the news that there will be a tattoo artist ringside to ink the loser.
Paul has been training for the bout with his coaching team of Love, BJ Flores and Jacob Chavez, while Woodley has been working with Gerald Tucker, Pedro Diaz and Eric Brown.
The former UFC champion even enlisted the help of Mayweather briefly in his Florida training base, although that was only for a solitary session.
And there has been suspicion of foul play from Paul, by top MMA coach Firas Zahabi who claimed Paul was using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
“That’s one of my number one factors [that could affect the outcome of the bout],” Zahabi, who coached Georges St-Pierre, said in a YouTube video.
“I think Jake Paul’s corner, they’re going to be on all sorts of substances., I don’t think they test, maybe the week of the fight, there’s no USADA.
“And I think that’s- I didn’t want to say it – but I think that’s a major factor.
“Jake Paul is bigger and stronger and he’s more athletic but I think he’s basically be on PED’s. I hate to say it, but I definitely think Jake Paul’s gonna be on PED’s.”
Paul has denied the claims, saying that it’s an embarrassing allegation, and joking that when he heard the report, he had to google what PEDs stood for.
The feud finally came to a head this week at the pre-fight press conference when the opposing camps rowed over an incident involving Woodley’s mother.
Paul has refused to apologise as the scene was set for an explosive ending tomorrow night.