Jake Paul looking to fight Anderson Silva in next fight

He has such a punchy face

He has such a punchy face
Photo: Getty Images

Watch Jake Paul step up his competition – at least in his name recognition in the fighting world.

The social media influencer-turned-pugilist has ably moved on in his career as a professional fighter. It started with the first-round knockout of a YouTube star, AnEsonGib. He then knocked out former NBA guard Nate Robinson – famous for needing 15 attempts in a dunk contest and tackle JR Smith. Paul then knocked out Ben Askren nowhere near as fast as Jorge Masvidal.

More recently, Paul went up against a real former combat sports champion, Tyron Woodley. The former UFC welterweight champion made Paul vulnerable for the first time in his career. Paul won the first fight by split decision and then he earned real respect as a fighter when he knocked out Woodley in the rematch.

It looks like Paul has chosen his next opponent, the biggest name of his short professional career. The opponent is still not a real professional boxer, but he is one of the most legendary fighters to ever punch another human being for money. According multiple takes, Paul will face Anderson Silva – holder of the UFC record for most consecutive wins – in October. Combat sports insider Ariel Helwani tweeted that discussions are seriousbut nothing is final.

Silva has appeared in two professional boxing matches since leaving the UFC. He beat former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who is also a former mayor of Huntington Beach, Calif. Then, in his second fight, Silva faced a former professional boxing champion, Julio César Chávez Jr. The son of the legend he is named after had his own career with 59 wins, six losses and once held the WBC Middleweight. Championship. He missed weight for his December fight with Silva and still lost by split decision.

When Silva was winning those 16 straight UFC fights, he was the greatest forward the sport had ever seen at the time. He dodged opposing strikes like Roy Jones Jr. and Muhammad Ali, and although his nickname is The Spider, Silva would strike like a cobra.

As great as it was, the time is finally coming for everyone. Once he was knocked out in the octagon against Chris Weidman in 2013 and broke his leg in the rematch, the legend was no more. He fought in the UFC for eight more years but recorded only one win.

This newfound success as a boxer is a testament to Silva’s skill level, but he is 47 years old. Chávez Jr. is younger than him, but at 36 he has fought professionally more than 60 times. Paul doesn’t have the pedigree of Chávez Jr. or Silva at all, but he’s only 25.

A 22 year age difference. Again, an excellent choice from Paul. Most of the boxers early in their career who get into these six to eight round bouts are people whose names have no hiding place. Paul was already a star, even though he was accused of having workplace bullying and sexual assault during this period of his career, which he denies. His career transition from getting punched in the face for a living was odd, but it immediately landed him a draw. As he and his team choose their opponents carefully while gradually improving, he can earn large sums of money early in his career by fighting people with a name, who are also unlikely to hurt him on the ring.

Silva, however, poses a legitimate threat to Paul’s unbeaten record. He is the first person Paul faces who can literally look him in the eye. Woodley was good, but he’s only 5-foot-9. Part of Robinson’s fame comes from his lack of height, and Askren doesn’t break the six-foot barrier either. Silva is 6-foot-2 and has won professional fights with a weight limit of 205 pounds.

If Silva was 38, with the same two pro boxing victories under his belt, I would think Paul was in trouble. But given that Silva is not a boxer and is pushing 50, I don’t see victory in The Spider’s future.

This fight is most definitely a step up in the competition for Paul, but it’s the perfect choice. A win here and Paul takes another giant leap in credibility for again beating someone who isn’t a professional boxer, and in this case is closer to AARP age than the top of his career.

Paul lays out the plan for anyone famous enough to make a lot of money without getting punched in the face, to make the most money possible by transitioning from the life of a social media star to the life of a fighter. Good for him I guess.

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