Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MMAJunkie.com.
LOS ANGELES – You are Anderson Silva. You are in the twilight of your career, many would say even beyond. You are a former UFC Middleweight Champion and one of the greatest Mixed Martial Artists of all time. A lot of people have you at their MMA Mount Rushmore.
So why, at 47, would you choose to fight a 25-year-old YouTuber and social media influencer who’s just started creating a buzz in boxing?
“This is a good challenge,” Silva told MMA Junkie of his upcoming boxing match with Jake Paul.
In fact, Silva and Paul will square off as the headliner of a Showtime pay-per-view event on October 29 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. Since leaving the UFC in late 2020, Silva has had some success inside the ring, with an impressive victory over former boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which was followed by a first-round knockout of the former boxing champion. UFC Tito Ortiz. Silva also looked good in an eight-round exhibition fight against Bruno Machado last May.
Paul has made a name for himself in boxing 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 perspective, this is exciting stuff. Over the past two years, he’s watched as Jake and his brother, Logan Paul, have made their mark in the world of combat sports, primarily boxing, but now in WWE for Logan as well, and he’s blown away by it all.
“People think these two kids have no respect for doing something like what I’m doing now,” Silva said. “But it is very special. Why? Because these two kids are working hard, and what happened to the people? When people don’t do something tough, something special, they try to speak up, to question, to say, ‘Oh, this is terrible, this is fake.’ But the kids doing an amazing job. The children working hard. I respect the boy (Jake). But fight is fight. Jake training hard to fight me, I’m training hard to fight Jake, and let’s do it.”
There are people who genuinely believe that Silva will give Paul a test that Askren and Woodley couldn’t, because Silva is actually Paul’s size, not to mention perhaps the greatest puncher in MMA history. Then there are the naysayers who fear that Silva, at his age, could end up brutally knocked out facedown on the canvas, just like Askren and Woodley.
That is not something that worries Silva.
“People say that, because it’s the same thing. People don’t like to work hard and they don’t like to take the risk of doing their best,” Silva said. “Lazy people do that. It is talking a lot. But I’m not lazy.”
For some, it might be strange to think that after finishing his legendary UFC career, Silva would end up boxing a YouTuber 22 years his junior. And yet here we are.
“I can’t imagine that, because no one can imagine that,” Silva said. “But I am working hard all my life to do my best, to improve my respect within 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 don’t see anyone my age and fight at the same level that I fight now. Especially when you come from the world of MMA, and I am very happy. When you do something good for the rest of the world, something good comes to you. That’s what I try to do every day.”