YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul has rejected Anderson Silva’s claim that he won’t be representing mixed martial arts when he steps inside the ring tonight.
Tonight, Silva will become the latest fighter looking to halt Paul’s once-unlikely rise in combat sports. After a few wins over figures with limited experience, the former Disney star began adding the names of MMA fighters to his record.
After quickly stopping former ONE Championship and Bellator titleholder Ben Askren last April, Paul recorded consecutive wins over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley, with the rematch ending by way of a vicious knockout last December.
Now, having seen a desire to defeat a seasoned professional pugilist slip away for the time being, Paul will look to secure his biggest scalp to date when he headlines a Showtime pay-per-view opposite MMA GOAT contender Silva.
Silva, who is widely regarded as the greatest striker in UFC history, occupied the middleweight throne on the sport’s biggest stage through a record-breaking reign between 2006 and 2013.
But despite his legendary status in MMA, “The Spider” doesn’t believe he’s entering his clash with Paul, who is quickly become public enemy number one among many in the community, as a representative for the sport.
“I don’t put this in my mind because everybody has their own journey,” Silva told Ariel Helwani during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “My journey inside MMA ended when I stopped (fighting in) the UFC.”
Safe to say, “The Problem Child” sees things differently.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, Paul looked ahead to what most are branding his stiffest test to date inside the boxing ring given how Silva performed in his victory over former WBC champion Julio César Chávez Jr. last June.
When asked whether he agreed with the Brazilian’s assessment of the inclusion of MMA in the contest’s narrative, Paul insisted that Silva will be acting as a representative come tonight in Arizona.
“No, he’s definitely representing the MMA community,” Paul said whilst laughing. “I think he just doesn’t want that pressure, maybe. Even Tyron said the same thing. But like, clearly, they are representing the MMA community, and a ton of the MMA fans want to see me lose. There’s a feud between us all. So, he definitely is representing his legacy and all of that.”
As Paul said, there is certainly a significant portion of the MMA community who are hoping to see Silva have his hand raised, both due to his history in the sport and their disdain for Paul, who has maintained a prominent presence in the sport through his criticism of the UFC.
With that in mind, while he may not feel or acknowledge it, “The Spider” may well enter the ring later tonight with an entire sport behind him.
Do you think Anderson Silva will be representing MMA when he shares the ring with Jake Paul?