Former UFC middleweight champion Bisping has emerged as the standout contender on YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul’s shortlist for his ring return, despite being essentially unable to be sanctioned
Michael Bisping has rated, and for the most part slated, Jake Paul’s six-man hit-list for his boxing return later this year.
The legendary former UFC middleweight champion has emerged as a front-runner on Paul’s wish-list for his next fight. This is despite having severe injuries to his eyes and knees that would make him essentially unable to be sanctioned by any athletic commission in America.
Bisping has said he would be willing to fight on a native American reservation, or travel to a country with more lenient rules, in order to make the fight. But in the meantime, it is expected that Paul will explore other options, in particular against one of the other five men on his list.
He has called out Bisping alongside legendary boxers Floyd Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya, Love Island star Tommy Fury, UFC icon Anderson Silva and two-time rugby world cup winner Sonny Bill Williams. And Bisping believes that it’s generally a ridiculous list, given the major disadvantages almost all of the opponents have.
“Floyd Mayweather has been retired for a while,” Bisping said of the 50-0 former boxer. “He just had an exhibition bout with your brother so I don’t think that’s going to work. Have you seen the size of Floyd Mayweather? The man is absolutely tiny.”
And the inclusion of De La Hoya, who almost returned to the ring last year against ex-UFC heavyweight Vitor Belfort, particularly angered Bisping. He added: “We have Oscar De La Hoya, former opponent of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather; a guy that again is way, way smaller but to top it off he had his last professional fight in 2008. That’s 14 years ago… he’s calling out a guy that’s been retired for 14 f***ing years.
“Jake, please, for the love of God. I’ve got nothing against you; you want to fight me, all good, I couldn’t care less but I’m just giving you a bit of advice as a man. If you want to get taken seriously, pick on people your own size and not people that have been retired for 14 f***ing years, that’s hilarious.”
Silva may seem to have similar issues in terms of age to the other two, but he is Paul’s size and won two boxing matches last year, including against former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. “Anderson Silva; a guy that is 44, 45 something like that,” Bisping said of the Brazilian, who is 47-years-old.
“I think he went 1-5 in his last six UFC fights and of course got knocked out against Uriah Hall. Anderson Silva is an absolute legend and I have nothing but respect for the guy. He had a smooth transition to boxing; he beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr very, very convincingly and knocked out Tito Ortiz with one punch but still, you know this is not really who you want to be calling out.”
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There are fewer criticisms to be made of rugby star Williams. He’s aged 36, is 9-0 as a professional boxer with wins over former world champion Frans Botha and multiple belts to his name. But Bisping doesn’t believe that Paul is being genuine in calling him out, given the massive size difference between the two.
“Then of course he called out Sonny Bill Williams,” he added. “That’s actually an interesting one for Jake because the guy is a young guy, he’s kind of in his prime, he’s 9-0, I believe, as a boxer. He’s heavyweight; I think he weighs 108kg so that fight’s never going to happen It’s just far too heavy and far too big but you never know, if you can fight a small guy why can’t he fight a big guy?”
But Bisping believes that the perfect option is the one Paul looked to take up last year; Tommy Fury. The 7-0 professional fights on his brother Tyson’s world heavyweight title undercard this Saturday, and he could set-up a rescheduled bout with an impressive win.
“And then of course on there there was Tommy Fury,” Bisping concluded. “But he said he’s never going to fight Tommy. He should fight Tommy Fury.”