UFC: Jake Paul takes aim at McGregor and Dana again
That’s because Bisping, the only U.K. fighter to ever capture a UFC world title, knows what it takes to become a star in the realm of combat sports.
But he’s also found himself in the brash YouTuber’s crosshairs, with the younger of the two vlogging, prizefighting Paul siblings calling him out for a boxing match earlier this year.
Chatting to Express Sport in the lead-up to UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona, Bisping, whose UFC career was effectively ended as a result of eye injuries sustained during his 20-year MMA career, said he’d like to think he’d still say “no” to Paul’s challenge, even if he was fully fit to fight.
“I don’t know. It’s cool to say no. It’s cool to sit here talking to you and say, ‘No, I wouldn’t have fought Jake Paul,'” he began.
“But to see that s***show at the weekend, after seeing Jake Paul standing there going, ‘Got your career!’ it’s like, wow! Shut up!
“Floyd didn’t do much. Floyd, I think he let himself down Sunday night. He could have done a lot more.
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“He kind of coasted. I know it’s an exhibition and you’re making a lot of money, but come on.
“Do it for the fighters, do it for the boxing community, do it for everyone who’s made the sacrifice of becoming a fighter over the years.
“But, yeah. I probably would have done, yeah!
“I would like to say no. But, after seeing this, I would love to go out there and batter him. I’d end him pretty quick, I’d say.”
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But, perhaps surprisingly for a man who has been directly called out by Jake, Bisping, who captured UFC gold five years ago this week, had plenty of praise for what Jake had achieved so far.
“Listen, fair play to Jake Paul. You can’t hate on what he’s doing,” he said.
“He’s parlaying his fame and his YouTube following into a successful sports career. He’s obviously got a passion for combat sports.
“There’s no prerequisite in combat sports that you’ve got to come from a disadvantaged background. Typically that’s how it works, right?
He stepped off a movie set on two weeks’ notice to knock out Luke Rockhold at #UFC199 and become undisputed middleweight champion.
He predicted the KO win, too. pic.twitter.com/QU1fNBXUJ1
— Simon Head (@simonhead) June 4, 2021
“But you can’t hate on the guy. He’s being smart, he’s being an entrepreneur.
“He’s got 30 million followers or whatever on Instagram, 20-odd million on YouTube, and they’re all fans of the guy.
“They’re all tuning in watching him fight, and he likes to fight, so far he’s doing well.”
Bisping also addressed what he feels has been unfair criticism of the YouTuber’s choice of opponents so far in his prizefighting career.
Paul defeated fellow vlogger AnEsonGib in his first bout, then knocked out former NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson before starching former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion – and former UFC welterweight contender – Ben Askren in the first round earlier this summer.
“People are talking s*** about his opponents,” Bisping explained.
“If he was a boxer (with his level of experience) he’d be fighting lesser opponents.
“Tyron Woodley’s not a boxer, but the man can box, and he’s got power. OK, he’s lost four in a row, but that was MMA. His chin’s stood up, and he wasn’t getting knocked out in every fight.
“And you wouldn’t be fighting a guy like Tyron Woodley in your fourth ever professional fight if you were a boxer. I mean, look at Tommy Fury. He was fighting a guy who’s 0-14.
“So Jake, he’s working his way up the ladder. I’d like to see him fight a boxer, a guy who can actually box who’s his size.
“But, as I say, you can’t hate on the guy for what he’s doing.
“But yeah, if everything was a little bit different… even now, if this continues for much longer, I’m going to have to knock him out!
“If somebody doesn’t put one of these brothers in their place soon, then I guess I’ll have to be the guy to do it!”
But Bisping said that probably wouldn’t be necessary, with “The Count” backing fellow former UFC champion Woodley to halt the Jake Paul hype train when they face off on August 28. But Bisping did offer his prediction with one sizeable caveat.
“I think he will,” he said of Woodley.
“I think Jake should be respected. He’s been surrounding himself with people like Zab Judah and the Mayweathers since he was like 14 years old. He’s putting in the work.
“I think Jake’s the better boxer, as well.
“I think Tyron’s got to train for this accordingly.
“If he trains for it accordingly, puts the work in and leaves no stone unturned and trains like this is a title fight, I think Tyron goes out there and beats him.
“But if any part of him gets complacent, I think we might see an upset.”
BT Sport 1 will show UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 exclusively live on Saturday 12th June with coverage of the main card, featuring Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz, from 3am. For more info go to bt.com/sport/ufc