“The Spider” spoke with Sports Illustrated ahead of his third boxing match since departing the UFC in 2020. The 47-year-old combatant will take on fellow Brazilian mixed martial artist Bruno Machado in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
And if all goes well inside the ring for Silva, fight fans could see him lock horns with “The Problem Child” next.
“It’s possible,” Silva said via the outlet. “People need to respect the Paul brothers. Those kids are talented, and they’ve opened people’s eyes about the good and bad in combat sports. I’m preparing my body for a challenge. We’ll see what happens.”
Paul, who is 5-0 as a professional boxer, plans to return to action on August 13. However, he hasn’t announced an opponent. If Silva dispatches Machado without taking much damage, then there is a possibility that Paul decides to take on his third consecutive ex-MMA champion.
When Silva called out Paul last fall, the social media superstar didn’t shy away from the challenge.
“I have a lot of respect for Anderson [Silva],” Paul said via ESPN’s Marc Raimondo. “He’s an MMA legend. I was a fan of his growing up. He’s said nothing but nice things about me, so there’s a mutual respect there. Anderson’s done great against Tito Ortiz and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but I’m not that, I’m not those guys. I’m fast, I’m explosive, I’m young, I’m hungry, and I’m only getting exponentially better every single day in the gym.”
Paul Said He Would ‘Love’ to Fight Silva, Who Was One of His ‘First Idols’
While speaking with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” in January, Paul confirmed that he would “love” to battle the shoo-in UFC Hall of Famer.
“Yes, definitely,” Paul said via MMA News. “Definitely. I would love that fight.”
According to The Problem Child, he had a photo taken with Silva when he was a child, and he considers The Spider “one of my first idols.”
“And interesting story, I think he was the first celebrity I ever saw,” Paul said. “So right when MMA was blowing up, my dad was a super big fan and we went to this local MMA event. And they must have paid Anderson Silva to come because it was like in Ohio, so I don’t know why he would have been there.
“But I actually asked for his autograph. And we took a picture with him…I’m maybe like 12 years old. But I think he was the first celebrity that I met. So it would be fun to bring it back full circle and fight someone who was, I guess, one of my first idols.”
Silva Will Look to Go 3-0 Since His Move From MMA to Boxing
Silva’s switch from MMA to boxing has been successful thus far. He defeated former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by split decision in June 2021, and he followed that win up with a first-round starching of former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in September 2021.
“I made the transition from my MMA career to boxing, and I’m doing something I love,” Silva said in the Sports Illustrated interview. “I am training hard every day, so I’m not surprised at my success. I’m not impressed yet, either. I have a lot more work to do.”