Jake Paul has found his next opponent – and he’s a combat sports luminary.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer will meet former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in an Oct. 29 boxing match in Phoenix, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions announced Tuesday. The bout will be contested at 187 pounds over eight three-minute rounds. Silva, 47, is one of the greatest champions in UFC history and holds the record for most consecutive wins in the promotion (16).
“The plan is for me to fight at 185 [pounds] moving forward and that’s what I wanted for this fight considering that was the weight Anderson Silva fought with during his reign as the most dominant UFC champion of all time “, Paul told ESPN. Anderson’s team asked if we could fix the weight at 187, two pounds more than I wanted. This level of professionalism and precision is appreciated and of course I accepted his request.”
Paul was supposed to fight Tommy Fury last month at Madison Square Garden in New York, but Fury pulled out due to what he said were travel issues from England to the United States. Fury’s replacement was Hasim Rahman Jr., son of the former heavyweight boxing champion, but that fight was canceled due to weight complications with Rahman.
This will be Paul’s fourth fight against a former UFC fighter. Previously, Paul knocked out Ben Askren and went 2-0 against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the last fight against Woodley in December. Paul has not fought since then.
Silva, although well past his prime, has a better resume than Woodley and Askren in MMA and boxing. He was the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world for extended periods during his lengthy title reign from 2006 to 2013 and one of the sport’s most creative knockout performers of all time.
In boxing, Silva is 3-1 as a pro, with his best win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last year. Silva fought Bruno Machado in an exhibition boxing match in May and looked tough there. He also knocked out former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in boxing.
“I know that in life everything has its purpose,” Silva said in a statement. “Nothing happens by chance. So, I thank God for my health, my family and my team for giving me this opportunity to continue doing what I love the most. I believe this will be the greatest event fight of the year and will mark the history of the sport forever. See you on October 29.”
Prominent combat sports figures including UFC President Dana White have criticized Paul’s opponents, and White has even suggested that Paul should fight Silva, which would be a “real fight” instead.
“Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva is the most versatile fighter the world has ever seen,” Paul said in a statement. “Just a year ago, he outclassed boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and showed the world why he’s often considered the greatest fighter of all time. All the pundits, from MMA to boxing , said that Jake Paul will not fight Anderson Silva. They said that Jake Paul is afraid of Anderson Silva, and that Jake Paul will lose to Anderson Silva. Well, to all the non-believers – Jake Paul fights Anderson Silva “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to share the ring with the greatest UFC forward of all time. On Saturday, October 29, I will humbly step into the ring, touch gloves with a living legend. and will do my best to exterminate “The Spider”.