Paul vs. Silva: Is Anderson Silva’s Web Still Able to Capture Jake Paul?

Jake Paul, Anderson Silva, Paul vs. Silva
Jake Paul and Anderson Silva face-off at the Paul vs. Silva final presser. Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Jake Paul will be facing the ultimate test of his skills as he faces arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time in Anderson Silva.

The element of surprise is no longer with Jake Paul.  The content creator and entrepreneur is still a force on social media, but his prowess in the ring has become quite apparent.  As he tested himself against a fellow YouTuber, then a professional basketball player, and finally a former Bellator and ONE champion, it became apparent that his aptitude for the sweet science as well as physical gifts could carry him much further than anyone had anticipated.  But as he has quickly skyrocketed under the spotlight, so has the demand to see him test himself against dangerous opposition.

He faced an iteration of it last year in taking on former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.  A proven force who accumulated several title defenses during his reign, Woodley took Paul the distance but found himself undersized and in boxing just outmatched by “The Problem Child.”  A turn of events would lead to an immediate rematch for Woodley, one he performed better in but ultimately was stopped in emphatic fashion in what was voted the Knockout of the Year in boxing.  Paul has successfully galvanized both the boxing and MMA fan bases over the past 24 months.  But unanimously, there is no MMA fighter (and thus nowhere left to go besides against a legitimate boxing prospect) who is more highly regarded for their transition to the squared circle than his next opponent.

The quickest way too sum up the accolades and career of Anderson Silva is with a four letter acronym: GOAT.  “The Spider” remains the owner of the longest win-streak in UFC history and from 2006 to 2013 cut a path of destruction that has yet to be duplicated.  Moreover, Silva’s abilities as a striker are in a completely different league entirely compared to all of Paul’s past opponents.  If the public is generalizing Silva into the same category as former foes Woodley and Ben Askren, then they would be sleeping on what is considered to be one of the greatest threats on the feet ever seen in combat sports.

Since departing from the sport of mixed martial arts, where per his own admission he said he had nothing more to prove, he has enjoyed a renaissance as a boxer.  In 2020, Silva defeated former WBC middleweight champion Julio Caesar Chavez Jr by unanimous decision in what was a celebrated night in his already storied career.  He has since added a first round knockout of Tito Ortiz and went the distance with Bruno Azeredo in bouts that have both showcased his skills and kept him active at 47-years old.

Silva’s age will be the biggest x-factor in the fight with Paul.  In terms of height and size, he is more equal to Paul than any of his previous foes.  But the question remains of whether his reflexes and durability at this stage of his career are at the level necessary to keep his younger opponent at bay.  For Paul, patience and precision will be key as he should mix up shots to the body and to the head.  Most crucially, he must avoid chasing down Silva in a straight line as the former UFC champion has done some of his most iconic work when opponents are careless coming forward.  For Silva, volume and movement will be key as he should look to put the pressure on Paul and keep him from settling into his offense.

For Silva, it is difficult to imagine a bigger fight for him at this stage of his career that would be more highly publicized or of importance.  There will always be another veteran to face in an exhibition bout if he chooses, but few finales could be as fitting for him as Saturday should he emerge victorious.  For Paul, a bout with Nate Diaz is expected to be on the table.  But while it would be a lucrative bout, the size discrepancy would suggest that it would do nothing to test the already proven skills of Jake Paul.