Tyron Woodley has rubbished claims that he could "throw" his upcoming fight against Jake Paul, as he insists that he is "taking it seriously".
The former UFC welterweight champion faces Paul in the YouTuber's hometown of Cleveland at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Saturday, August 28.
This bout came about after Paul stopped Ben Askren inside 90 seconds earlier this year. Woodley called out the social media star in the aftermath as he is a close friend of Askren.
The fight was soon agreed and the pay-per-view event will be shown live on Showcase in the US and BT Sport Box Office in the UK. Amanda Serrano, Daniel Dubois and Tommy Fury are part of the undercard.
This will be Paul's fourth pro fight. Before Askren, he picked up stoppage victories against former NBA star Nate Robinson and fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib.
Woodley meanwhile will be making his boxing debut this weekend. He last fought in the UFC in March and he is on a four-fight losing streak.
One of these defeats came against Colby Covington in September 2020. His former opponent has suggested that Woodley will "throw the fight" against Paul.
In an interview with Fight Hype, the former world champion hit back at these claims:
"I'm taking it serious. That's what I think," Woodley said.
"I think the amount of people that know me and know better than to call me and ask me - am I throwing this fight for money, or is it a real fight, or is it exhibition?
"Like, I don't understand why people think in 2021, somebody's willing to let somebody pay them for a fight when I've been nothing but a competitor for 30 years.
"And it's kind of offensive. So, to me, I'm like, 'Alright. Let me show everybody what it's all about.'"
Elsewhere, Paul has told Sky Sports that he is expecting to stop Woodley in one or two rounds:
"Honestly after this camp, I said three [rounds] and now I'm thinking, max two.
"But to be honest, something in my heart tells me that it's going to be another one round fight, as crazy as that sounds. I think it's going to be a very short night for Tyron.
"I'm just built different, I have something inside of me that I think is just a natural born fighter, with natural power, you can teach a lot of things, but you can't teach speed and you can't teach power.
"I think that's why my fights have ended so early.
"When those 10oz Grant gloves come on, I just grip them back, and the knuckles are at the front of the gloves. There's no way these people's heads can deal with this damage."
Can Woodley silence Paul?
Even with Woodley not having prior links to boxing, he will receive a lot of support for his fight against Paul.
It would be an understatement to say that Paul has caused a stir in the sport.
Yet he does deserve some praise given that his words are being backed up by his performances in the ring.
Woodley is comfortably his toughest test to date. The MMA star was a dangerous puncher in the UFC, but this does not necessarily translate to boxing.
Paul may not get the first-round stoppage he is after, but he is the favourite against Woodley for good reason.
The YouTuber would make a big statement if he does beat Woodley in convincing fashion. He should do that so boxing purists should not expect Paul to go away anytime soon…