Michael Bisping not opposed to fighting Jake Paul. | Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
Michael Bisping isn’t ruling out a return to fight Jake Paul.
Over the weekend, Paul took shots at Bisping, saying the UFC Hall of Famer was on his “hit list” of future opponents, which kicked off a back-and-forth between the two on social media. And so, as interest in this potential fight has begun to swell, Bisping posted a video to his YouTube page answering the all important question: Will he fight Jake Paul?
“So, do I want to fight Jake Paul?” Bisping said. “Listen, here’s the thing, I had a great career. I’m very happy with what I accomplished. I’m happily retired. I’m very, very happily retired. But I do miss the thrill of competition — and I don’t see Jake Paul as necessarily a threat. I retired from fighting because I only had one eye and I didn’t want to risk my other eye. In boxing, bigger gloves, against Jake Paul, I don’t really see him as a threat. So Jake Paul, beating you up sounds like fun.
“Of course you are a big star, and God bless you, well done to you. I’m not hating. Well done to you, you’ve done great things, all jokes aside, because I am kind of joking. You’ve done great, you’re earning a lot of money, you’re a big star, you’re getting a lot of pay-per-views and stuff like that. So for that reason, I probably would. I probably would, but we’ve been here before. He sent an email to [Bisping’s manager] Audie Attar, Paradigm Sports management, or his manager did, asking if I would fight him, offering $500,000. I said double it, add pay-per-view, and we’ll see where we go. Never even got a response. So he’s doing the same thing again here.”
Paul representative Nakisa Bidarian previously confirmed that Paul and his team made an offer to Bisping prior to Paul’s fight with Ben Askren but could not come to terms, and the reality is, even now a fight between the two would face considerable hurdles. After retiring from MMA in 2018, Bisping revealed that he was blind in one eye and had spend years circumventing the athletic commissions so he could continue fighting. As a result, Bisping notes that it may be tough for him to get a boxing license in the United States, but if Paul is feeling up for a bit of a trip, they could certainly find a location to accommodate this proposed fight.
“This fight is never gonna happen, but I’ll tell you what, Jake, if you want to throw down, if you want to step in the squared circle with me, I’ll oblige. I’ll do it,” Bisping said. “It sounds like fun. It gives me a reason to train, to get in shape — give me a few months [to] lose a couple of pounds, and let’s go, baby! No problem. The only thing is, I won’t get sanctioned. I doubt one of the athletic commissions would let me right now because I used to lie about my eye, but now the secret’s out. The cat’s out of the bag. But there’s lot’s of places where they will not care, lot’s of places where they don’t give a s***. What about Dubai? Dubai seems to be hosting a lot of fights. Let’s go to Dubai. What about an Indian Reservation? No problem there. Lot’s of countries in Europe, Africa, China — the world is our oyster. There’s not athletic commissions everywhere. I’m pretty sure we could find a place that would allow us to throw down.”
It appears that, at least to some extent, Bisping is having a laugh at Paul for the brashness of calling him out, despite him being 18 years older than Paul, retired, and physically compromised. Still, Bisping does seem to have some interest in obliging him — that is, if Paul is serious himself.
“So yeah, there it is. Am I joking? A little bit. Am I serious? Maybe a little bit,” Bisping said. “If you are serious, if you want to do it, send an email. You’ve done it once before. Tell your manager to send me an email. I don’t want to fight — I don’t. I’m very happily retired, and to be honest this whole thing is beneath me, but it does generate a lot of interest and I think me vs. him would generate a lot of interest. I’m not saying I want to fight Jake Paul, because that would be kind of pathetic. But it just got me thinking.
“Jake, good luck with what you’re doing, just call out someone your own size. Tommy Fury. That should be the fight. … You’re a young man, you’re in your prime — fight a young man in his prime. If you want to fight a 43-year-old guy with one eye and no knees, hey buddy, let’s go. Send location. Send a contract. Send something, rather than just talking on Teddy Atlas’ podcast.”