Former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley has a message for those who downplay the physical requirements of professional wrestling: “That sh*t hurt.”
While drastically different in the form of entertainment they both give out, there’s always been some form of string connecting professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, whether through former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar’s prominent transitions between the Octagon and the ring, or the less successful venture into MMA of CM Punk.
While the likes Matt Riddle and Shayna Baszler, who both formerly competed in the UFC, swapped fighting for sports entertainment, perhaps the most notable to do so is female MMA pioneer Ronda Rousey.
The former women’s bantamweight queen is currently in her second stint in-between the ropes, sitting as the WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion.
One fellow former UFC champ who could be joined “Rowdy” on the WWE’s books is Woodley, who departed the MMA leader last year following four straight defeats.
While he’s dabbled in boxing, resulting in consecutive losses to YouTube star Jake Paul, Woodley also has his sights set on other sports, including Muay Thai and professional wrestling, the latter of which he’s already has a taste of.
During an appearance on The Residency Podcast, “The Chosen One” admitted he was open to a future pro-wrestling venture, and also discussed his experience partaking in a WWE training camp a few years ago.
It’s safe to say that Woodley learned the physically of the industry the hard way…
“Yeah, I did a little WWE training camp. That sh*t hurt my back like a motherf*cker,” said Woodley. “Hey, let them mothers*ckers who think it’s sweet in the WWE go off them tight-ass ropes. Those ropes will burn your f*cking back, neck, and then my legs, I’m not six-foot-two, so to get across the mothers*cker to the perfect time… ‘Oh, I got clotheslined out the blue!’ That sh*t hurt.
“And you getting hit. When you hit the ground, I’m like, ‘Sh*t, I thought there was like, a microphone underneath there to make a lot of noise.’ No, you’re hitting that motherf*cker. Shoutout to the pro-wrestlers,” added Woodley.
Woodley Received High Praise From Triple H
While it may take some time for mixed martial artists to get to grips with the different workings of pro-wrestling compared to fighting, there’s one thing the two perhaps have in common: trash-talking.
Selling a matchup is important for storytelling in WWE, but it’s equally as vital in attracting pay-per-view buys for the UFC, which often leads to some heated exchanges. The UFC 272 build-up, for example, saw Colby Covington direct personal insults towards opponent Jorge Masvidal.
Having sent his fair share of trash talk his opponents’ way, Woodley seemingly had little issue with the WWE microphone in his hand, and even drew some praise from legendary figure Paul Levesque, aka Triple H.
“They said, ‘You done? Okay, let’s cut a promo.’ So they all sit down and I’m like, ‘The f*ck is a promo?’ I didn’t wanna say that I didn’t know what the f*ck it is,” said Woodley. “But then it kinda led me to believe that I just needed to talk a little sh*t. Then I did [LAUGHS]. Triple H said, ‘Dawg, he’s ready, I like this mother*cker.’”
Given Levesque’s instrumental role in nurturing the next generation of pro-wrestlers, that’s certainly high praise indeed for Woodley. Perhaps we’ll be seeing another former UFC champ inside the squared circle sooner rather than later.
Would you like to see Tyron Woodley try his hand at professional wrestling?