- Randy Couture is confident about how the PFL will handle Jake Paul’s transition from boxing to MMA
- “The Natural” thinks trash-talking and hooplas will not work for “The Problem Child” in the PFL
PFL analyst and broadcaster Randy Couture weighed in on Jake Paul’s highly anticipated MMA debut in the promotion. The way “The Natural” sees it, the PFL would be lenient in letting “The Problem Child” transition from boxing to MMA but definitely not in terms of picking his opponents.
Following Kayla and Claressa’s blueprint
In an exclusive interview with MiddleEasy, Couture said the PFL is certainly the perfect platform for a talent like Paul. The former UFC two-division champion is confident about how the promotion will handle the YouTuber’s MMA career just the same as they did with Kayla Harrison and Claressa Shields.
More importantly, Couture thinks the PFL fully understood that it’s a big switch for Paul but when it comes down to it, “The Problem Child” would have to face whoever is in front of him and deliver.
“I think they’re gonna give him the time he deserves to get his feet under and make the transition, being a boxer to being a mixed martial artist. They did that with Kayla Harrison and they’re doing that with Claressa Shields right now… I suspect that they will allow Jake Paul to do the same thing but at some point, push comes to shove, and I think he has to be thrown in the deep end with all the other fighters, the rhetoric and all the other stuff isn’t gonna cut it. This is the PFL, you got to go out and win fights. It’ll be interesting to see how he makes that transition, where he decides to train, who he decides to train with,” Couture assessed.
“Hopefully, he gets about putting himself in some uncomftable places, especially when it comes to ground fighting, and submission skills, and the wrestling part of our sport, and he’s definitely has the boxing thing going on, he’s a formidable, powerful athlete in boxing, he’s demonstrated that. Not to be critical he hasn’t really fought a full-on real striker, Anderson Silva is probably the closest to it… In my opinion, he has strategically picked the right guys to box against, he’s not gonna get that luxury in mixed martial arts. He’s going to have to fight whoever he gets matched up with and however that shakes out so, I’m looking forward to it, I think it’s definitely gonna bring attention and eyeballs to the PFL… ESPN is already doing that, I think eight of out shows this next scene are on big ESPN, not just streaming or not just ESPN2. I think there’s a statement there,” he continued.
Hooplas won’t help Jake
While Couture acknowledges the fact that Paul has a massive fan base, he guarantees it’s still about winning the fights in the PFL. On the other hand, “The Natural” admitted that he’s still not sure how the internet star will be viewed in the promotion, though.
“Well, certainly he has a huge audience and a huge following. His handlers have been very smart about the fight they’ve gotten him, he’s calling himself a disruptor in boxing, he says that he wants to be a disruptor in MMA as well. We’ve created a very specific format. We’ve spent five years now developing that format in that meritocracy. It’s all about going out and winning fights and scoring points. It’s not about rhetoric, smack talk or any of those things that most of us associate with Jake Paul. So, there’s a little bit of a dilemma at least, how this unfolds,” Couture explained.
Randy is excited
At this point, Couture couldn’t tell more about Paul as he hasn’t me the unbeaten boxer in the flesh. He thought he did so in the past but he’s not sure. Regardless, the UFC legend is excited to know more about “The Problem Child.”
“I have not met him. My understanding is that he was in Unbreakable at Jay Glazer’s gym in LA at one point. Before any of knew who he was and he started boxing. I think I shook his hand there but honestly, I don’t remember. There was nothing specific that happened… We didn’t train together… I’m not a fan of the smack talk and all the other stuff but he’s stepping up and shining a light on the disparaging difference in fighter pay between boxers and mixed martial artists and for that, I’m willing to get behind him… I look forward to actually interviewing him, shake his hands, looking at his eyes and get a real sense of what kind of person Jake Paul is.”
Paul opened up the year 2023 by joining the PFL. Many are already looking forward to his MMA debut as a potential bout with big-name fighters such as Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis are already gaining traction. But before that, he’ll settle his feud with Tommy Fury first in their upcoming boxing match on Feb. 26 in Saudi Arabia.
Paul is coming in unbeaten with a record of 6-0 in pro boxing. On the other hand, Fury will look to improve his equally flawless record of 8-0.