Saturday, January 22, 2022

Bisping: Askren Doesn’t Represent MMA; I Nearly Fought Paul Instead

What if I told you that it was Michael Bisping who was supposed to be Jake Paul’s opponent on April 17 instead of Ben Askren?

This factoid may not be enough to fill a 30 for 30 episode, but it is a piece of interesting information for MMA fans, especially supporters of former UFC middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping.

Last December, weeks after Jake Paul had knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson, Paul was beginning to dip his toe in the MMA talent pool when searching for his next opponent. One of those names was retired great Michael Bisping, who actually accepted Paul’s challenge publicly (h/t SportsBible.com).

“Because you’re talking s**t, you’re contacting my manager saying that you want to fight,” Bisping said on his Believe You Me podcast. “Well, guess what, buddy? I’m here. I’m going nowhere. You want to fight someone? You want to test yourself? Hey, I’m 0-0 as a boxer. You’re saying you’re 1-0, you’re 2-0, I’m 0-0. At the end of the day, if you want to do this, stop playing games. You want to do it? I’ll do it. I’m here. No problem. Okay?”

As history has recorded, it would not turn out to be Bisping who fought Paul but instead someone who is not regarded as a striker at all, former Bellator and ONE FC champion Ben Askren. However, even though Bisping did not fight Paul, he has revealed in a recent interview that he was offered an official contract to box the YouTuber.

“I got offered a contract…It wasn’t enough money,” Bisping told LowKickMMA. They made an offer, and it was some decent cash. But if I’m going to make a fool out of myself by boxing a YouTuber, then I’d want a bit more for it. I’m not going to come out of retirement, but that’s essentially free money to me. If the number was big enough, then I’d be a fool not to go and pick up that money.”

Bisping Believes It’s Time For Jake Paul To Step Up Competition

Jake Paul
Image Credit: Triller Fight Club

Bisping has recently spoken out against MMA fighters being used as “sacrificial lambs” in these boxing events, much like Frank Mir against Steve Cunningham (originally scheduled to be against Antonio Tarver). It’s doubtful that Bisping would consider his past interest in fighting Jake Paul to be a contradiction of these comments since his many years of training and competing with primarily a boxing style could have his talent level at or above that of Paul’s. Even still, despite all of Paul’s shenanigans and trash talk, Bisping can respect his hustle inside and outside of the public gaze.

“The guy is obviously passionate about the sport. He trains very hard,” Bisping said.“He’s a switched-on guy. He knows how to piss people off and everyone being pissed off, all that emotion, that transfers into dollars in the bank account.”

And with this advanced skill set, Bisping argues, Paul should be looking to fight someone a bit more advanced than one-dimensional grapplers or a retired, undersized NBA player for his next fight.

“I would like to see him take on somebody,” Bisping said. “Ben Askren is not a representation of the mixed martial arts community. He was a wrestler that was successful at MMA, but he can’t strike. He’s got an incomplete skill set and he was the perfect opponent. There’s so many people in MMA that would absolutely destroy Jake Paul, but he doesn’t want a real challenge.”

Who do you think would have won in a boxing match between Michael Bisping and Jake Paul?

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