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Michael Bisping says he was offered huge purse to box Jake Paul

UFC Fight Night: Quarantillo v Carlyle Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Tyron Woodley won the sweepstakes to be Jake Paul’s next opponent, but fellow former UFC champ Michael Bisping said he was in the running at one point.

Bisping on Monday said he was offered a typical MMA pay-per-view headliner’s disclosed salary to box Paul. He estimated Woodley would make double that when the fight materialized.

“I’m happy for him,” Bisping said on the video podcast “Believe You Me.” “I don’t know what he’s going to get paid, but I’ll tell you right now. I was offered $500,000 to fight Jake Paul, so I would assume it’s probably more since the fight’s happening. So good for him. He might go out there and might be getting $1 million, and I couldn’t be happier for Tyron, because he really deserves it.”

Bisping, who serves as a regular UFC commentator, didn’t reveal any further details on the offer. But Paul rep Nakisa Bidarian confirmed that one was made. (Bidarian later clarified the offer came before the YouTube star signed on to fight Ben Askren.)

“I have nothing but respect and admiration for him and have always had a good relationship with him and his team,” Bidarian wrote to MMA Fighting in a prepared statement. “Jake was absolutely interested in fighting Michael Bisping and an offer was made by us. Unfortunately we could not come to terms that made sense for the event at that time.”

Typically, the contracts of UFC fighters who retire before their expiration are “frozen,” meaning they would need special permission from the promotion to compete for another company. It’s extremely rare for them to get such permission. Bisping has also spoken extensively about the challenges of his post-career health. He underwent knee-replacement surgeries on both knees.

Woodley, who closed out his most recent UFC deal on a four-fight skid, is expected to face Paul on Aug. 28 for an eight-round professional boxing match at 190 pounds, which is the light heavyweight division.

Former UFC middleweight champ Bisping was considerably more receptive to Woodley than Paul’s previous opponent, former UFC welterweight Ben Askren, who was quickly knocked out by Paul when they met in April.

“This is a more interesting matchup, because before, everybody knew,” Bisping said. “Everybody didn’t know. Everybody f*cking kissed Ben Askren’s ass and said he was going to wipe the floor. There was one person that was smart enough, and I’m sorry to say, it was me. I knew it was going to happen. But Tyron Woodley, I still think...he could put on a fight.”

Paul is already a betting favorite over his MMA counterpart. Pressed for a prediction, Bisping didn’t completely co-sign on his colleague.

“I don’t know! I don’t f*cking now, but I’ll tell you what, Logan Paul is fighting Floyd Mayweather this weekend,” he said. “I mean, what is going on in the world? Fair play to these brothers.”

Bisping also added, “Tyron Woodley is going to put up a significantly better fight than Ben Askren did. That’s a fact.”

Check out the full video below.

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