When Anderson Silva was breaking records as the most dominant MMA fighter of his generation, Jake Paul was a kid watching at home, transfixed by the Brazilian’s accomplishments.
Now 47, Silva will take on the controversial YouTuber-turned-boxer in a boxing match on Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
But the fight was reportedly almost called off following Silva’s comments in an interview.
In an interview with MMA Weekly, recorded in September but published this month, the legendary MMA fighter said he was knocked out twice during his training camp and as a result had to undergo additional medicals. by The Arizona Boxing & MMA. Commission before he could be cleared to participate in the fight, according to ESPN.
In a statement this week, Silva clarified his comments and said he misspoke during the interview and was not knocked out in the training session which he said was took place in early September.
Silva performed a “flawless” MRI, Board Chairman Scott Fletcher told ESPN, adding that he was “completely comfortable” allowing Silva to fight.
Since entering the boxing world, Paul has won all five of his fights, with four knockouts, including victories over former MMA fighters Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.
And his confidence ahead of his fight against Silva was evident during his press conference.
“Anderson Silva is the nicest guy in the world and we love him,” he said. “I’m still going to knock him out, maybe respectfully, but I’m going to knock him out.”
Silva, however, poses a different challenge for Paul as he is the first opponent with a professional boxing record and was the reigning UFC middleweight champion for 2,457 days, from 2006 to 2013 – a record of the UFC – during which he amassed a 16-fight winning streak.
Silva hasn’t competed in an MMA fight since 2020, when he lost to Uriah Hall, but he has continued to box, going 2-0 since returning in 2021 – including a split decision victory over the former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Before that, his last two fights were in 1998 and 2005 for a 1-1 record.
“I promise I’ll do my best to put on a good show for everyone here,” Silva said, per ESPN.
“I am now focusing on this fight because this fight is very important for every new generation, and my generation too. I believe in one thing: if you love something, you can do anything, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything.
“That’s why I’m here because I never stopped believing in myself.”
The eight-round bout will air live on Showtime PPV in the US and begin at 9 p.m. ET.