Los Angeles, CA – Hip Hop and combat sports have been linked for decades. From fight-themed songs like LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” and ironically, Canibus’ LL, Mike Tyson-featuring-diss, “Second Round K.O,” to friendships forged like those between Lil Wayne and Floyd Mayweather Jr. or even Tyson and the late Tupac Shakur.
To outline this synergy, HipHopDX brought in UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley (who recently released his own fight anthem “I’ll Beat Yo Azz” featuring Wiz Khalifa) to break down his favorite fight songs.
Woodley, who defended his title back in September against Darren Till, has a broad palate when it comes to sonically amping up his workouts but there was one rapper in particular whose words connected with the pugilist in a specific way.
“I work out to all kind of music but if I need to get ramped up, Joyner Lucas and Eminem’s ‘Lucky You,’ Tyron told HipHopDX. “When I was getting ready to fight my last fight, I fought Darren Till, defended my belt against him in September and I just remember feeling offended from everybody wanting me to lose and [them saying] ‘this is a young kid’ and they were trying to paint me out to be this old washed up lion and everybody had already started paving his way and there was this one bar in there that was like ‘I need some room. Give me some room. I need the juice,’ and I was like ‘you know what I’ma go out there and earn my respect,’ so that’s what I cut weight to for this fight camp,” he added.
The Missouri native drops different playlists for each fight and the inspiration comes from all over the musical spectrum.
“Every fight camp I got a whole playlist so if you grab my phone you’ll see ‘Champ Camp’ that’s what I call it, so ‘Champ Camp seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and it’ll be crazy just the different vibes I’m in at the moment. It might be something crazy, might be gospel rap, it might be something motivational like Melanie Fiona, but this last camp it was kinda personal so any music that guys was talking about a lot I was bumpin’ it,” noted Woodley, who also recalled one of the original songs that helped put him in his zone. “When I was in high school I used to come out to these wrestling matches, and I never talked to people. I had my headphones on and it was DMX’s “Look Thru My Eyes.”
Woodley, who also does acting and stunts will be appearing in the upcoming film Cutthroat City, which also stars RZA, Wesley Snipes and Shameik Moore but back in 2015 many people don’t know that he also had a small role playing one of the members of Da Lench Mob in Straight Outta Compton. As he tells it the timing of the film had extra special meaning to him.
“I grew up in Ferguson. At that time that we was filming the riot scenes in the Straight Outta Compton movie, the riots were happening in Ferguson at the same time,” Woodley remembered.
“So I’m on set filming it, but in my city actually I lived on that street. That’s the street I grew up on and the riots were going on in real time so I was just kinda blessed to be a part of history and also look at it from a different lens.”
Catch out the trailer for Woodley’s upcoming movie down below and for more information, follow him on Instagram @twooodley.