Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Daniel Cormier has just the right name for Jake Paul if the YouTuber-turned-boxer is serious about his fighting career.
In a video published Tuesday on his YouTube channel, Cormier commented on the ongoing public negotiations between Paul and former UFC middleweight Michael Bisping, a discussion that has seen “The Count” invite Paul to send him a contract if he wants to box a retired “43-year-old guy with one eye and no knees.”
The feud has left Cormier with plenty of questions about Paul’s motivations, but with one simple answer for who Paul should actually fight next.
“You want an older guy to fight?” Cormier said. “Hey, there’s a former UFC champion that is doing exactly what you’re doing. His name’s Anderson Silva. That’s who you should be fighting, Jake. That’s who you should be calling out, because guess what, he still fits the mold. Former UFC champ. Amateur boxer because he’s only fought, I don’t know, five boxing fights just like you. He’s your size and he’s up there in age so it still fits the mold.
“You should be calling out Anderson, not Michael Bisping. That’s the fight. That’s the fight. Not only does that fight fit the mold of what you’re doing, that fight actually gives us some idea of what this thing is that you’re trying to do or portray.”
Silva, 47, recently made a triumphant return to boxing after parting ways with the UFC in 2020. Following a legendary run with the promotion that 14-year run with the promotion that saw him become the undisputed middleweight champion and successfully defend that title 10 consecutive times, Silva stepped into the boxing ring in June 2021 to fight Mexico Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
After eight exciting rounds in which Silva showed plenty of flashes of his famous striking style, “The Spider” won a split decision and then went on to knock out fellow former UFC champion Tito Ortiz in under 90 seconds the following September.
Paul, 25, is 5-0 as a pro boxer and he’s parlayed his massive social media fame into instant combat sports notoriety. He has defeated former MMA champions Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, beating Woodley via a ferocious one-punch knockout in his most recent outing in December.
Still, Cormier wonders where all this is going.
“To me, it seems as though Jake Paul wants to be considered a real fighter,” Cormier said. “He does the right things. He trains hard. When he’s in the ring, he seems to be able to box and I’ve gone on record as saying so much, like the kid can actually fight. They’re very athletic kids, him and his brother [Logan]. His brother did a tremendous job just recently in the WWE at WrestleMania, and honestly, if he chose to he could be a full-time performer, that’s how talented the kid is — obviously, he went seven or eight rounds with Floyd Mayweather. But when it comes to Jake, Jake seems to want to be a fighter, a boxer.
“So much so that he has taken the lead in terms of approaching Dana with fair fighter pay and everything else and you don’t know what the intention is with that or his fight career. It’s odd.”
Cormier has had his own run-in with Paul. At UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla., “The Problem Child” had a face-to-face confrontation with Cormier, who later said he’d be open to fighting Paul but only in MMA. Nothing came of that chatter and Cormier isn’t sure why Paul insists on targeting older fighters.
Even a potentially competitive fight with Bisping doesn’t make much sense in Cormier’s eyes.
“Michael Bisping is a boxer and a fighter, so with all the injuries that he’s had, Bisping will still go out there and fight as hard as anyone you’ve ever seen,” Cormier said. “He’s always in fantastic shape, he fights as hard from minute one to minute 25 or 15 regardless, he’s as tough as they come. Michael Bisping is a man’s man.
“So it would be a tougher fight for Jake Paul, but still, what’s the desired result because it doesn’t get you closer to being legitimized. Not because Mike’s not a good fighter, because the Michael Bisping today is 43 years old. Knee operations. His eye’s messed up. So what’s the desired result for Jake Paul?”
Cormier understands that a fight with Bisping would draw plenty of eyeballs — including his own — but he stands by his theory that a duel with Silva is the ideal matchup for Paul for a variety of reasons.
“If you really want to show the world, if you really want to prove that this is a second career for Jake Paul,” Cormier said, “that you want to be considered legitimate, you got the Showtime deal, you’re a fighter — fight Anderson Silva. That’s fun because Anderson Silva is still an amateur boxer, but he’s still training, he’s still fit, he’s dealt with injuries obviously, when you’re a UFC champion for as long as he’s been and on top of the game, you’ve got injuries. He’s older — Anderson’s older than all of us, but Anderson is still fighting and Anderson Silva presents a chance for you to truly prove yourself. So let go of the Bisping thing.
“I get it. If you’re gonna fight Mike, I’m tuning in. Hell, I might even go to watch my friend cash in and watch you get pushed [to a place] that you have not been pushed to yet. Maybe in sparring, but in a fight, nobody’s pushed you like Bisping will push Jake Paul. But if Jake Paul wants to be considered real and Jake Paul wants to be an actual fighter, you’ve gotta fight somebody that is more in the game. And that person to me is Anderson Silva.”