UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith says he’d be down to fight Jake Paul, but doesn’t believe the YouTuber-turned-boxer would “dare” say his name.
Smith’s stance on the presence of internet sensation Paul on the combat sports scene has been up and down. “Lionheart” initially slammed the former Disney star for calling out UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, describing it as “ignorant” and Paul as “stupid.”
The #5-ranked UFC 205lber then accused Paul of “lying” in comments about developing early signs of CTE. Smith suggested the remarks showed “disrespect” towards fighters affected by it.
The downward trajectory briefly hit an incline earlier this year thanks to Paul’s apparent pursuit of improved fighter pay and contractual conditions. Smith rejected the idea that “The Problem Child” was bringing up the topic for his own gain, concluding that he truly cares about helping fighters.
Now, thanks to Paul’s recently updated hit list of potential opponents, “Lionheart” is back on the offensive. Since name-dropping Smith’s podcast co-host Michael Bisping as a possible next foe, Paul has gone back and forth with the former UFC middleweight champion.
Most recently, the 25-year-old posted a video on Twitter bragging about his earnings in comparison to the Englishman, and inviting him to “stop hosting your struggling podcast, get licensed to fight, and box me.”
Smith Slams Paul With “Facts”
When one commenter tagged Smith, “Lionheart” came to the defense of his fellow Believe You Me host.
After suggesting Bisping would defeat Paul, the former UFC light heavyweight title challenger claimed that while he’d happily get licensed to share the ring with the online star himself, he doesn’t believe Paul would be willing.
“We can keep playing this fucking game with him but he’s not gonna play. He wants to take shots at a guy that has accomplished the world and moved on, and would still beat him. I’ll say yes, ill get licensed, and I’ll beat his ass in any sport…he wouldn’t dare say my name. Facts.”
So far in his boxing career, Paul has faced and defeated former MMA champions Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren. While much of the criticism directed towards him and his venture into the ring has surrounded his constant callouts of retired and veteran mixed martial artists, it doesn’t seem Paul is in the mood to change up those ways.
With former middleweight king Bipsing in his sights, as well as MMA GOAT contender Anderson Silva, it stands to reason the name of another UFC vet will be arriving on Paul’s record soon enough.
Perhaps “The Problem Child” will even look to prove Smith wrong by sharing the squared circle with the 33-year-old.
How do you think Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith would fare against Jake Paul inside the boxing ring?