Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at MMAJunkie.com.
LOS ANGELES – You are Anderson Silva. You are in the twilight of your career, many might say even beyond it. You are a former UFC middleweight champion and one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. A lot of people have friends on MMA Mount Rushmore.
So why, at 47, would you choose to fight a 25-year-old YouTuber and social media influencer who has barely begun to resonate in the boxing world?
“This is a great challenge,” Silva told MMA Junkie about his upcoming boxing match against Jake Paul.
Indeed, Silva and Paul will appear in the headlines of the Showtime pay-per-view event on October 29 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Since leaving the UFC at the end of 2020, Silva has experienced some success inside the ring, with a stunning win over boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Silva also looked good in an eight-round match against Bruno Machado this past May.
Paul made a name for himself in the boxing scene thanks to former MMA champions Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, both of whom he knocked out (he also beat Woodley by decision).
From Silva’s point of view, this is an interesting one. Over the past two years, he’s observed how Jake and his brother, Logan Paul, have made their mark on the world of combat sports – mainly boxing but now also in WWE for Logan – and was impressed by them all.
“People think it’s disrespectful to both of these kids to do something like I’m doing now,” Silva said. “But it is very special. Why? Because both of these kids are working hard, and what happened to everyone? When people aren’t doing something difficult, something special, trying to talk, trying to ask questions, trying to say, ‘Oh, this sucks, it’s fake.’ But the kids are doing a great job. The kids work hard. I respect the child (Jake). But fighting is fighting. Jake is training hard to fight me, I’m training hard to fight Jake, and let’s do it. “
There are people who really believe that Silva will give Paul a test that Askren and Woodley can’t, because Silva is literally the size of Paul, not to mention perhaps the greatest striker in MMA history. Then there are protesters who fear that Silva, at his age, could be brutally knocked down and face down on the canvas, much like Askren and Woodley.
That’s not what Silva cares about.
“People say that, because it’s the same. People don’t like to work hard and don’t like taking risks to do their best,” said Silva. “Lazy people do it. It is saying a lot. But I’m not lazy.”
For some, it’s strange to think that after the end of his legendary UFC career, Silva will end up boxing with a YouTuber 22 years younger than him. However, here we are.
“I couldn’t imagine it, because nobody could have imagined it,” Silva said. “But I am working hard all my life to do my best, to raise my respect in the martial arts and fighting community. When you do something special, when you do something to respect and help the new generation, everything happens to you. I’m lucky, because I haven’t met anyone my age and fought at the same level that I fight now. Especially when you come from the world of MMA, and I’m so happy. When you do something good for the rest of the world, something good will come to you. That’s what I try to do every day.”