Despite his weekend opponent’s relative inexperience in professional combat, MMA great Anderson Silva says he’s not looking past Jake Paul. Silva, a former long-reigning UFC middleweight champion, will face internet phenomenon Paul, 25, in a boxing rules battle on Showtime pay-per-view Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The Brazilian has extensive combat sports expertise, having excelled in ultimate fighting, jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, taekwondo, and even boxing, where he most recently defeated former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Silva said at a recent media workout in Arizona, as he wraps down his preparations for the big event, “There’s a lot of people thinking Jake is no good, he’s not as good a striker. But the battle is a fight to me, and I’m practicing hard to win it. This is not going to be an easy struggle for me. Once you walk past the ropes, every bout is perilous.”
Paul rose to prominence on the Disney Channel and later as a YouTube video creator. However, he turned his online notoriety into a real-life career in combat sports, with a pro record of five victories and four knockouts.
Despite being 22 years Paul’s senior, Silva believes he is his most difficult opponent to date and believes he will be the first to defeat his American opponent.
He stated emphatically, “I’m not going to lose. Nothing will have an impact on my legacy.”
Silva continued: “My experience is the most crucial factor in this battle. Jake does not have my level of experience.”
Silva stated in an interview broadcast Tuesday on YouTube by MMA Weekly that he has been “working hard for the win” with “high-level” boxers.
“He knocked me out twice in the last sparring,” Silva stated, adding that he asked his instructor at the time why there are folks knocking him “out twice.” “You need to prepare for battle, and you prepare for war,” his instructor reportedly added.