Fortis MMA head coach Sayif Saud believes that with some work, Uriah Hall could take on Jake Paul.
Saud doesn’t make that declaration lightly – he was impressed by Paul’s win over Anderson Silva in the headliner of this past Saturday’s Showtime Boxing event and takes nothing away from the former YouTuber’s rise in boxing.
“[Hall] could [fight Paul], but he would have to train, and I told him that,” Saud said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I think Jake, you’ve got to recognize facts. Look, I thought Anderson did fantastic. I thought Anderson – Anderson is something else. He’s a special guy. He went in there and touched Jake – that uppercut falling back, and the ring generalship. Anderson was on him. But after the first round, Anderson got a little bit tired. I mean, he is 47 years old, and I thought that Jake stepped his game up in the later rounds.
“Jake’s in shape. He’s a young kid who goes to the gym and busts his ass. He’s obviously doing the work, and again, say what you want, but he’s still fighting guys that, yeah, I know he’s old, but look at boxers’ records in the beginning of their careers. They don’t take on challenges until they get built up. That’s the way boxing is. That’s why you see these guys avoiding each other until they’re 40-0 and 38-0, because that’s the way it is. They avoid each other because they realize a loss changes the whole course of their careers. So they definitely don’t take fights like we do in MMA at 3-0. A loss in MMA is a little bit different.
“I think we’ve got to recognize the fact that there are still challenges for [Jake], and it’s a step up for him. That’s what’s important and that needs to be recognized, and I think that he’s getting tougher. I understand people saying he’s not good and he’s got a lot of holes, I understand why boxers are saying that, too. I do think he’s in shape, and Uriah is 38 – [Jake] is what, 25 or 26? I think he’s training his ass off and he’s got momentum.”
Hall outpointed former NFLer Le’Veon Bell after four rounds, winning unanimous 40-36 scores in a bout that was less than spectacular. Both combatants appeared to be adjusting to the sport in real time and clashed awkwardly on several occasions. According to Saud, the former UFC middleweight champion was in a dark place not long before he got the call to participate in the boxing event and basically stepped off the couch for a four-week training camp.
On fight week, Hall opened up about his struggles with a deep depression following his exit from the UFC and his turnaround thanks to the mission of getting in shape to box.
“I think Uriah with a camp, like a real camp [can do well in boxing],” Saud said. “And look, [Fortis MMA is] 2-0 in boxing right now. We’ve been fighting these running backs, 2-0 in boxing, and we’re proud of that.”
Former NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams leaned on Saud to prepare for a bout with former NFL running back Frank Gore in 2021. Williams, a part owner of Fortis MMA, emerged with a split decision win.
“We study everything, and to think we can’t study boxing when we can study everything and win in MMA is a little silly, I think,” Saud said of the gym’s recent success in the squared circle. “So yeah, maybe we’ll get a boxing ring and start doing boxing fights. But look, again, it requires the right amount of focus.
“Uriah landed some hard shots on Le’Veon – he just ate them so well, I don’t think that certain people saw it, but I saw it. His eyes showed it after. I thought Uriah won the fight handily.”
Getting the fight with Paul will be the infinitely harder task for Saud and Hall; the undefeated 25-year-old is eyeing Nate Diaz for his next combat sports outing. Hall said after his win that he wanted to keep fighting, and he left nothing to the imagination about his prediction for a potential bout with Paul.
““F*** yeah,” he shouted in the ring afterward. “I want to do this. I want Jake Paul. I’m the dude that’s going to come out here and expose him. If Anderson [Silva] don’t do it, I’m going to be the one to f*** you up.”
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