Tyron Woodley has been offered help by former world champion Andre Ward ahead of his upcoming fight with Jake Paul.
Woodley, who was a feared UFC welterweight champion, has opened as a betting underdog for his boxing debut against 3-0 Paul, having lost his last four MMA fights.
But he has vowed to break the YouTube star’s jaw in a violent threat on Instagram Live, and says that he will be working with former super-middleweight ruler Ward in the build-up to the August 28 showdown.
“Eric Brown, he’s been my boxing coach forever,” Woodley told his fans on Instagram Live. “He’s going to be my chief second, the number one guy in the training camp.
“But I’ve had a lot of other people that reached out to me – Andre Ward, my dog, reached out.
“I cannot miss the opportunity [to work with him], it would be an honour and a blessing. I will find some time to work with Andre Ward as well.”
Woodley has never boxed professionally but was considered one of the top strikers in the UFC and showed glimpses of his old ability in his last outing against Vincente Luque in March.
And he admitted he has always wanted to pick up the 10oz gloves and take a boxing match, which was made possible after he was cut from the UFC earlier this year.
“I always wanted to box my whole life, but I never did it,” Woodley added. “I always wanted to box. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
“It’s crazy how things happen, I started doing MMA in 2005 because I was like ‘I’m too old to just box’ – I was 23 years old out of college wrestling, so I did MMA. I’m like ‘s***, I can wrestle and punch!’
The former UFC champion has vowed to break Paul’s jaw, after the internet star stopped his close friend Ben Askren in his last boxing outing on April 18.
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“We gonna break some records, and I’m going to break a motherf*****’s jaw while I’m at it,” Woodley continued. “Get ready to make motherf****** history. We’re Breaking records.”
No venue has been announced yet for the bout, but the fighters will be required to weigh a maximum of 190lb, 10lb under the recognised cruiserweight limit.
YouTube star Paul has amassed a record of 3-0 thus far in his pro career and recently signed a deal with Showtime Boxing in America, but Woodley will be the first legitimate striking threat he has faced to date.
The former UFC welterweight champion was renowned for both his wrestling and his stand-up in his MMA career and is still a feared competitor despite losing his last four bouts.
He won the top prize in MMA by brutally knocking out famed striker Robbie Lawlor in 2016 and defended his title four times against top strikers Stephen Thompson (twice) and Darren Till, as well as jiu-jitsu legend Demian Maia.
Woodley lost the belt in early 2019 to Kamaru Usman and has since lost to Gilbert Burns, Colby Covington and Vincente Luque, who are ranked second, first and fifth respectively in the division.