UFC commentator Jon Anik has serious doubts regarding Jake Paul’s aspirations of fighting in the UFC.
Paul is coming off of an eventful 2021 in which he continued his undefeated boxing career. He earned back-to-back wins over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley after knocking out former welterweight Ben Askren in a matter of seconds.
Paul has recently alluded to transitioning to MMA at some point in time and more specifically fighting in the UFC. He’s challenged UFC President Dana White to sign him to a one-fight deal if White agrees to make changes to fighter pay and other components of the promotion.
But Anik isn’t so sure that Paul is serious in his alleged desire to fight on MMA’s biggest platform. During a recent interview with DAZN, Anik compared Paul’s aim to fight in the UFC to that of professional wrestler and former UFC fighter CM Punk.
“I just don’t think that he wants to scratch that competitive itch,” Anik said of Paul. “I think he is legitimately passionate about boxing. CM Punk, for lack of a better example, he needed to scratch that itch. It didn’t go the way he wanted it to. It didn’t go the way he thought it would. But he needed that for his own peace of mind. I think Jake Paul needed that in boxing.
“But Jake Paul’s not going to have a better retirement or enjoy any part of his life by scratching that MMA itch. I don’t think that he wants to devote his training life the way he’d need to become a mixed martial arts athlete. I don’t think we see Jake Paul in the UFC. But if we do, hopefully, the matchmaking is done in an appropriate way.”
Paul has shared footage of him practicing leg kicks in preparation for a potential move to MMA and has received interest in fighting for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC promotion, among others.
Punk, otherwise known as Phil Brooks, fought for the UFC in 2016 and 2018. White and the UFC brass gave him an opportunity to compete in the promotion despite little MMA experience, losing to Mickey Gall at UFC 203 and a no-contest against Mike Jackson at UFC 225.
Punk has returned to professional wrestling via AEW and remains a commentator for Cage Fury Fighting Championships. As for Paul, he remains at odds with White and the UFC as he works his way back to a boxing return later this year.
Do you think Jake Paul will ever fight in the UFC?