Boxing – MMA Crossover – Part 2

MMA Fighters who have Boxed Professionally

In Part 1 of Boxing – MMA Crossover, we looked at boxers who have fought in MMA.  We have since seen Claressa Shields make her successful MMA debut last Thursday, June 10, in the PFL.  Shields won by third round TKO after losing the first two rounds.

On Saturday night, June 19, one of the all-time MMA greats, Anderson Silva, will box Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Below are some of the most notable MMA fighters who have boxed professionally.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor got his start in combat sports with boxing; however, he chose to take the MMA route.  “The Notorious” won the Cage Warriors featherweight and lightweight titles before signing with the UFC in 2013.  McGregor was the original UFC “champ-champ” becoming the first fighter to simultaneously hold two UFC titles in two separate weight classes.

With all his accolades in the octagon, McGregor became, and still is, by far the UFC’s biggest draw.  This set up what was dubbed “The Money Fight” as MMA’s biggest superstar in his prime went up against boxing’s biggest superstar at the end of his career.  In August of 2017 Conor McGregor fought arguably the greatest boxer of all time in Floyd Mayweather Jr.  “Money” Mayweather was tied with the legendary Rocky Marciano with a 49-0 professional record.

McGregor did better than most people thought he would, including some boxing experts who said he would not land a punch.  McGregor won some early rounds, but ultimately, Mayweather scored the tenth round TKO to improve his record to 50-0.  This was the second biggest selling pay per view of all time behind Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

McGregor is scheduled to headline the next UFC pay per view against Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight at UFC 264 on July 10.  McGregor currently has an MMA record of 22-5.

Kimbo Slice

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson made his name from his backyard street fights that were viewed by many on the internet.  He had his first sanctioned fight in June of 2007 against former heavyweight boxing champ Ray Mercer in the Cage Fury Fighting Championship promotion.  Slice won the exhibition match by guillotine choke in the first round.

The internet legend was signed by EliteXC and made his pro MMA debut in November of 2007 with more hype than any other debuting fighter in the young history of the sport.  He defeated 10-10 fighter Bo Cantrell by submission due to punches in just 19 seconds.  He returned in February of 2008 to fight Tank Abbott who called himself a street fighter in the early UFC days.  Slice won by KO in just 43 seconds.  With his popularity at an all time high, Slice headlined the first MMA event on CBS for EliteXC.  This was a step up in competition against Pride veteran James Thompson.  Slice stopped the British heavyweight by third round TKO.  His next fight was scheduled for the main event against Ken Shamrock on EliteXC’s third card on CBS.  Shamrock had to pull out the day before due to a cut suffered in training and was replaced by Seth Petruzelli who went on to knockout Slice in just 14 seconds.  This was the end of Kimbo Slice in EliteXC and in fact, it led to the demise of the promotion.

Slice was signed by the UFC to appear on The Ultimate Fighter reality series in 2009.  In the show’s highest rated episode, Slice lost in his quarterfinal bout against Roy “Big Country” Nelson by second round TKO.  In December of 2009, Slice defeated Houston Alexander in the TUF 10 finale.  He lost his next fight in May of 2010 at UFC 113 to fellow TUF 10 heavyweight Matt Mitrione by second round TKO.  This was Slice’s last UFC fight.

After departing the UFC, Slice embarked on a pro boxing career.  He won his pro debut by first round KO in August of 2011.  After going 6-0 stateside against less than stellar competition, Slice fought his final boxing match against a 6-6 Australian in Australia.  Slice won by second round KO to end his boxing career with a 7-0 record.

Slice returned to MMA, signing with Bellator in 2015.  He fought Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138 in June of 2015 in a fight that was supposed to happen seven years prior in EliteXC.  Slice won by first round TKO.  In his final MMA fight, Slice fought fellow internet street fighter Dada 5000 at Bellator 149 in February of 2016.  Slice won by third round TKO; however, the fight was later turned into a no contest after Slice tested positive for nandrolone and elevated levels of testosterone.  Slice’s career MMA record was 5-2, 1 NC.

Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya started off his combat sports career as a successful kickboxer.  He made his MMA debut in March of 2012.  Adesanya fought MMA once in 2012 and once in 2013.  He did not fight MMA in 2014 before getting active in the sport in 2015.  Adesanya was very active in kickboxing during this time.  Known today as one of the most active UFC fighters, Adesanya was very active in 2015 having fought 3 MMA fights, 7 kickboxing and 5 boxing matches, winning them all.

Adesanya made his pro boxing debut in November of 2014 against former Australian cruiserweight champ Daniel Ammann who was 29-7-1.  Adesanya lost a three-round decision in the quarterfinals of the Super 8 cruiserweight boxing tournament.  Adesanya returned to the Super 8 cruiserweight boxing tournament in March of 2015, winning his quarterfinal bout by second round KO.  He beat former WBO cruiserweight title challenger Brian Minto (39-8) by split decision in the finals.  Adesanya returned in November of 2015 to once again win the Super 8 cruiserweight tournament.  In between these boxing tournaments, Adesanya won the King of the Ring 8-man cruiserweight kickboxing tournament in April of 2015 and the King of the Ring 8-man heavyweight kickboxing tournament in October of 2015.  Adesanya has a pro boxing record of 5-1.

“The Last Stylebender” went 11-0 in MMA before making his UFC debut at UFC 221 in February of 2018, defeating Rob Wilkinson by second round TKO.  Adesanya had victories over Marvin Vettori, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva before fighting Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title at UFC 236 in April of 2019.  Adesanya won by unanimous decision in the 2019 fight of the year.  The New Zealander fought the Australian Robert Whitaker in front of a record breaking 57,127 fans in Melbourne, Australia.  Adesanya won the undisputed UFC middleweight title by second round KO.  He had his first title defense against Yoel Romero, winning by unanimous decision at UFC 248 in March of 2020.  In the second ever men’s UFC title fight between two undefeated fighters, Adesanya (19-0) fought Brazilian Paulo Costa (13-0) at UFC 253 in September of 2020 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.  Adesanya won by second round TKO.  He then attempted to become the first fighter win both the UFC middleweight and light heavyweight titles when he moved up to 205 pounds to fight light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March of 2021.  Adesanya lost by unanimous decision to the Polish champ, which was his first loss of his MMA career.  Adesnaya returned this past Saturday at UFC 263 to defeat Marvin Vettori for a second time, to retain his middleweight title.  The 31-year-old Nigerian’s MMA record stands at 21-1.

Jens Pulver

Jens Pulver was the UFC’s first ever 155-pound lightweight champion.  He made his pro MMA debut in April of 1999 and went into his UFC debut with a 3-1 record in September of 1999.  Pulver defeated Caol Uno in 2001 to win the first ever UFC 155-pound title.  “Little Evil” would go on to defend his title twice, including against future two division champion BJ Penn.  After the Penn victory, Pulver left the UFC due to pay issues.

Pulver would go on to fight four times in the Pride organization which was at the time the top MMA organization in the world.  He then returned to the UFC where he coached opposite his former rival Penn in the Ultimate Fighter Season 5.  After losing to Penn in the TUF 5 finale, Pulver dropped down in weight and fought in the WEC.  At the time, the UFC’s lowest weight division was lightweight (155 lbs).  Pulver fought Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight title.  Pulver ended his career fighting for ONE Championship in Asia.  Pulver has a career MMA record of 27-19-1.

In 2004, Pulver had four pro boxing matches.  He went 4-0 as a professional boxer having fought in his second pro fight on Tuesday Night Fights on EsPN with commentary by Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas.  In recent year’s Atlas has become a fan of MMA.  It is interesting to hear his commentary in 2004 about MMA and amateur wrestling where he was quite complimentary.  You can watch Pulver’s ESPN fight below.

Chris Lytle

Chris Lytle made his MMA debut in February of 1999 for the Neutral Grounds promotion.  In his second pro fight, he fought for the Pancrase organization in Japan.  Lytle fought 13 times for the Japanese promotion between 1999 and 2003.  The Indiana firefighter stayed very active fighting mainly on the regional scene in the Midwest and boxing professionally in between his Pancrase fights.

Lytle made his UFC debut at UFC 28 in November of 2000, losing a two round unanimous decision to Ben Earwood in a preliminary fight.  He lost a split decision to Nick Diaz at an IFC event in 2002 in California.  Lytle put together a few good wins including a KO victory over Aaron Riley at a HOOKnSHOOT event in 2003 before making his return to the UFC at UFC 45 in 2003 where he lost a unanimous decision to Robbie Lawler.  Lytle went 2-3 in his second stint with the UFC between 2003 and 2005.

Lytle made his pro boxing debut in June of 2002, fighting to a four-round draw.  He won his next eight fights before losing his first boxing match.  Lytle fought a combination of journeymen and up and coming boxers with winning records.  He fought the infamous journeyman boxer Reggie Strickland who was 64-256-15 at the time.  Lytle went 13-1-1 as a pro boxer between 2002 and 2005.  He won the Indiana state light heavyweight boxing title and defended it twice.

Lytle returned to the UFC in 2006 as a part of The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback.  TUF 4 featured former UFC fighters and the winner was to receive a UFC title shot against welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.  Lytle won his quarterfinal fight by first round guillotine choke submission against Pete Spratt.  He won a unanimous decision against Din Thomas in his semi-final fight.  Lytle lost a split decision to Matt Serra in the TUF 4 finale, just missing out on the opportunity to fight for the UFC welterweight title.

Lytle went on to fight 13 more times for the UFC.  His most notable losses were decision losses against Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.  He defeated Matt Serra by unanimous decision in a rematch at UFC 119 in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana.  In his last MMA fight, Lytle defeated Dan Hardy by third round guillotine choke in the main event of a UFC Live event in 2011 in which he won submission of the night and fight of the night honors.  Lytle won his share of UFC bonuses including six fight of the night, three submission of the night, and 1 knockout of the night.  Lytle fought 20 times for the UFC going 10-10.  He ended his MMA career with a 31-18-5 record.

Lytle came back in 2018 to try his hand in bare knuckle boxing.  As an experienced MMA fighter with pro boxing experience, this seemed like a good fit for Lytle.  He had two fights in 2018 and one in 2019 and went 3-0.  Lytle currently does colour commentary work for the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships promotion.

Clay Collard

“Cassius” Clay Collard made his MMA debut in 2011.  He went 13-4 before making his UFC debut in August of 2014 at 21 years old.  Collard lost his octagon debut by third round TKO to future featherweight champ Max Holloway.  Collard fought four times in the UFC going 1-3.

Collard took two and a half years off fighting before returning in 2018.  He went 4-1 on the regional scene.

Collard made his pro boxing debut in 2017, winning his first bout by split decision.  After fighting MMA three times in 2018 and twice in the first quarter of 2019, Collard focused his attention back to his pro boxing.  He boxed 15 times between May of 2019 and February of 2021.  His highest profile boxing match was against 2016 Olympic silver medalist Bektemir Melikuziev in a fight that he lost by fourth round TKO.  The 28-year-old Collard’s pro boxing record is 9-4-3, coming mainly against boxers with winning records.

Collard recently returned to MMA signing with the PFL for a chance to win one million dollars in their lightweight division.  In the main event of the first PFL card of the season in April, he took on the PFL’s highest profile free agent, Anthony Pettis.  Collard scored the upset unanimous decision victory over the former WEC and UFC champ.  He won his second regular season fight last week as the co-main event to Clarissa Shields.  He defeated Joilton Lutterbach by split decision, securing him a playoff spot as one of four fighters who will be fighting for the one-million-dollar prize.   Collard’s semi-final fight is scheduled to take place on August 13.  Collard’s MMA record stands at 20-8, 1 NC.

Travis Fulton

Travis Fulton holds the record for the most professional mixed martial arts fights at an astonishing 320.  “The Iron Man” made his MMA debut in 1996 losing to future UFC fighter Dave Strasser.  Fulton amassed a 57-14-5 record when he got the call to the UFC in May of 1999.  The 21-year-old Fulton lost by armber submission at the 6:28 mark to future UFC heavyweight title challenger Pete Williams.  Eight days after his UFC debut, Fulton defeated future UFC and Pride veteran Heath Herring in a 12-minute unanimous decision at Extreme Challenge 24.  Fulton defeated David Dodd by unanimous decision in a two-round preliminary fight at UFC 21 in July of 1999.  UFC 21 was the first UFC to use 5-minute rounds that we see in today’s MMA.  Fulton went 1-1 in the UFC.

Fulton was known to fight every week and sometimes even more.  In his two fights leading up to his UFC debut, Fulton lost in the main event at an IFC in Quebec, Canada and won a fight on the regional scene in his native Iowa the very next night.  Fulton fought notable names outside the UFC including Jeremy Horn, Matt Lindland, Dan Severn, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricco Rodriguez, Renato Sobral, Evan Tanner, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Joe Riggs, Ben Rothwell, Jeff Monson, Andre Arlovski and most recently, Serghei Spivac.  Fulton last fought MMA in April of 2019 and his career record stands at 255-54-10, 1 NC.

Fulton not only is the most active MMA fighter of all time, but he also had 75 pro boxing matches.  Fulton made his pro boxing debut in February of 1999.  Fulton last boxed in August of 2019 and has a record of 25-48-2.  Fulton has shared the square circle Fres Oquendo and Lou Savarese.

Fulton is also 0-1 in bareknuckle boxing.  His last fight was a bareknuckle boxing match in November of 2019.

Ryan Ford

Ryan Ford made his MMA debut in 2007 for the Maximum Fighting Championships in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Ford went 6-0 including a win over UFC vet Pete Spratt before suffering his first loss against Pat Healey for the MFC welterweight title.  He won two more fights before getting a rematch against Healey for the MFC welterweight title, losing by split decision.  Ford went on to win the TFC and AMMA welterweight titles, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  Ford’s biggest win of his career came against former UFC contender Karo Parisyan in 2011.  He had two fights with Bellator in 2012 where he went 2-0, including a second round TKO over Luis Santos in his promotional debut.  In 2013, Ford fought twice for the AFC promotion in Edmonton, winning their welterweight title by fifth round rear naked choke over Michael Hill.  In 2014, Ford won the WSOF Canadian welterweight title.  He fought his last MMA fight for the World Series of Fighting against former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger, Jake Shields.  He lost to Shields by first round rear naked choke.  The Canadian ended his MMA career with a 22-5 record.

Ford made his pro boxing debut in 2010 winning a four round majority decision.  He focused on his MMA for the next few years before switching full time to boxing in 2015.  Ford went 14-0 to start his career including winning the UBO light heavyweight title and defending it once.  Ford lost his first boxing match when he fought Russian Fedor Chudinov in a 12-round decision loss for the vacant WBA international super middleweight title in December of 2017.  Ford fought some tough international competition and lost five title fights overseas.  He did win the WBC international silver light heavyweight title in August of 2019, defeating previously undefeated German Serge Michel by eight round KO in Germany.  Ford last fought n Russia in February of 2020 and currently has a pro boxing record of 17-6.

Boxing – MMA Crossover: Part 1 – Boxers who have fought MMA

Tony Halme

Tony “The Viking” Halme made his MMA debut for the Rings organization in Japan in 1994.  His MMA record varies depending on the source.  According to his Wikipedia page, he is 1-4.  Sherdog.com has him at 0-4.  Tapology.com has him at 3-7.  The discrepancy is likely due to the fact that, Rings were known to have some worked matches in its early days.  All but one of Halme’s fights were for the Rings organization.  Halme fought Randy Couture at UFC 13 in 1997.  Couture won by rear naked choke in just 56 seconds.

Halme made his pro boxing debut in 1995.  Halme is a two-time Finnish heavyweight champ.  His most notable victory was against three division world champ Iran Barkley by 12 round split decision in his native Finland.  Halme had his last boxing match in 2002 and retired with a 13-6 record.

Halme was also a professional wrestler best known for his stint in the WWF as Ludvig Borga from 1993 to 1994.

Erin Toughill

Erin Toughill is a pioneer of women’s MMA.  She made her MMA debut in September of 1999, fighting to a 15-minute draw at the World Vale Tudo Championships 9 event in Aruba.  Women’s MMA was very scarce in North America at the time, so Toughill went to Japan to compete in her next eight fights.  In December of 2004, Toghill fought in a one night, 8 women, open weight tournament.  After winning her quarterfinal fight, she defeated future Strikeforce bantamweight champ Marloes Coenen by KO in the semifinals before losing in the tournament finals.  Toughill retired from MMA in 2011 with a 10-3-1 record.

Toughill made her pro boxing debut in 2000 losing by unanimous decision.  She went 2-1-1 before boxing Jacqui Frazier Lyde, daughter of former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Frazier.  The bout was ruled a no contest due to a cut Toughill suffered because of an accidental clash of heads.  Toughill won her next four fights which set up a world title fight against Laila Ali in 2005.  Toughill lost to Ali by third round TKO.  Toughill initially retired from boxing in 2006 with a 7-3-1, 1 NC record.  At 42 years old, Toughill attempted a comeback in 2019.  Toughill lost her three bouts in 2019.  Her record currently stands at 7-6-1, 1 NC.

Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko is undoubtedly the second-best pound for pound female MMA fighter behind the GOAT Amanda Nunes.  She entered the UFC in December of 2015, defeating Sarah Kaufman by split decision.  She then lost to Nunes in a three-round decision in which she won the third round.  Shevchenko went on to beat top contenders Holly Holm and Juliana Pena to earn a rematch against Nunes in September of 2017, this time for the title.  Shevchenko lost a razor close split decision.

Shevchenko had no choice but to fight her first few fights n the UFC at 135 pounds because there was no 125-pound female flyweight division in the UFC when she entered the promotion.  She dropped down to her natural weight class in 2018 and captured the vacant title against former kickboxing foe Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Shevchenko has defended her flyweight title five times, including her most recent title defense against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 in April.  Her MMA record stands at 21-3

Shevchenko had won multiple world titles in the striking arts of kickboxing and muay thai.  “The Bullet” only has a 2-0 pro boxing record; however, her boxing bouts were against tough, experienced opponents.  In her pro boxing debut in 2010, she fought former world title challenger Halanna Dos Santos who was 12-2 at the time.  In 2011, in her second bout, she fought another former world title challenger in Nerys Rincon who was 9-3-2.

Fabio Maldonado

Fabio Maldonado made his MMA debut in 2000, making the finals of an eight-man tournament in his home country of Brazil.  The Brazilian has fought his career at both light heavyweight and heavyweight.  Maldonado went 17-3 before making his UFC debut at UFC 120 in October of 2010 where he defeated James McSweeney by third round TKO.  Maldonado fought 12 times in the UFC between 2010 and 2015 going 5-7.  His last three losses in the UFC were against Stipe Miocic, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Corey Anderson.  In 2016 Maldonado fought one of the all-time great heavyweights, Fedor Emelianenko at Fight Nights Global 50 in the Russian’s home country.  Maldonado came very close to finishing Emelianenko in the first round, but in the end lost a majority decision.  Maldonado’s last high profile MMA fight was at Rizin 19 where he lost by KO to current UFC No. 2 ranked Jiri Prochazka in October of 2019.  Maldanado last fought for the UAE Warriors promotion in September of 2020.  His MMA record currently stands at 26-15.

Maldonado made his pro boxing debut in 2002.  He mixed boxing and MMA fights and built his boxing record to 22-0 before his UFC run in 2010.  He did not box during his UFC tenure.  Maldonado returned to the boxing ring in 2016 and won four more bouts in Brazil improving his record to 26-0 before fighting for the WBC-NABF heavyweight title in Quebec City, Canada.  Maldonado lost to 24-0 Oscar Rivas.  Maldanado has now lost four in a row with his last bout coming in February of 2020.  He is scheduled to box on June 25 in Sochi, Russia.

Alessio Sakara

Alessio Sakara made his MMA debut in 2002 in his home country of Italy.  He built his record to 10-3 before making his debut at UFC 55 in 2005.  After his first fight ending n a no contest, Sakara returned at UFC 57 and defeated Australian Elvis Sinosic by unanimous decision.  From 2005 to 2013, Sakara fought 15 times in the UFC octagon where he went 6-8, 1 NC.  Sakara’s most notable win was against former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites at UFC 101.  His most notable loss was against Chris Weidman in the future middleweight champ’s UFC debut in 2011.

Sakara made his pro boxing debut in 2004.  The Italian had his last boxing match in 2009 going 8-1 as a boxer.  He boxed three times while under UFC contract, something that fighters could not do in today’s UFC.

Sakara signed with Bellator in 2016.  He fought six times for Bellator, all in his home country of Italy, going 4-2.  His last fight was in October of 2019.  Sakara has an MMA record of 21-13, 2 NC.

Tyron Spong

Tyrone Spong was one of the best kickboxers in the world, winning multiple titles in the sport.  Sprong transitioned to MMA in 2012 and it looked like he was going to have a promising MMA career, signing with the World Series of Fighting promotion.  He scored a first round KO over a 5-2 fighter at WSOF 1 in November of 2012.  In his second MMA fight, Spong fought in the main event at WSOF 4 in August of 2013 against Angel DeAnda who was 11-2.  Spong won by unanimous decision.  This was the last we would see of Spong in the cage as he walked away from MMA with a 2-0 record.

The Suriname born Spong decided to pursue a career in professional boxing in 2015.  Spong won the WBC Latino heavyweight title in 2017 and defended it three times.  He won the WBO Latino heavyweight title in 2018 and defended it twice.  Spong last boxed in August of 2019 and the 35-year-old is currently 14-0 as a pro boxer.

KJ Noons

KJ Noons made his MMA debut in 2002.  He went 5-2 before fighting Nick Diaz for the inaugural EliteXC lightweight championship.  He won by TKO (doctor stoppage) after the first round.  Noons defended his title in his next fight with a first round TKO over Yves Edwards.  After the demise of Elite XC, Noons went on to fight in Strikeforce where he had a second round TKO over Jorge Gurgel.  He lost notable unanimous decisions in Strikeforce to Nick Diaz, Jorge Masvidal and Josh Thomson.

Noons made his UFC debut in 2013, losing a unanimous decision to Donald Cerrone.  He rebounded with two UFC wins, including a 2014 KO over Sam Stout that earned him a performance of the night bonus.  Noons fought his last MMA fight in 2016, losing a unanimous decision to Josh Burkman.  He went 2-3, 1 NC in the UFC and 13-9, 1 NC overall.

Noons made his pro boxing debut in 2004.  He mixed pro boxing matches with his MMA fights including during his EliteXC days.  Noons boxed his last boxing match in 2009.  He had a career boxing record of 11-2.

Joe Duffy

Joe Duffy made his MMA debut in 2008.  He had success in the Cage Warriors organization where he beat countryman Conor McGregor in 2010.  Duffy started his MMA career at 10-0 when he earned a shot at the Cage Warriors lightweight championship in 2011.  Duffy lost to Ivan Musardo by fourth round guillotine choke submission.  Duffy then took three years away from the sport.

Duffy turned to professional boxing in 2013.  He had seven pro boxing matches, going 7-0.  All of his bouts were in 2013 and were against fighters who were either debuting or had losing records.  

Duffy returned to MMA in 2014 wining two more fights in the Cage Warriors promotion.  He made his UFC debut with a 12-1 record in 2015.  Duffy entered the UFC at the time, known as the last man to beat Conor McGregor.  He scored first round stoppages in his first two fights in the UFC, a TKO over Jake Lindsay and a triangle choke submission over Ivan Jorge.  This set up a big fight with Dustin Poirier in 2016 at UFC 195 where Duffy lost a unanimous decision.  The Irishman went on to have five more fights in the UFC with his last fight being a submission loss against Joel Alvarez in July of 2020.  After losing to Alvarez by guillotine choke submission, Duffy announced his retirement.  Duffy has a career MMA record of 16-5.

Jake Paul vs. MMA

After beating former NBA player Nate Robinson in the co-main event of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr exhibition last November, YouTube star Jake Paul fought former ONE and Bellator champ Ben Askren in the main event of the Triller card.  This seemed like the ideal matchup for Paul who was fighting a real fighter for the first time; however, the former Olympic wrestler Askren is known for his grappling skills and not his striking skills.  Paul knocked out Askren in the first round.

Former UFC heavyweight champ, Frank Mir was scheduled to face former light heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion Antonio Tarver on the undercard of Paul vs. Askren.  However, Tarver had to pull out due to injury and was replaced by former world cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham.  Mir had a much better showing than Askren, losing a six round unanimous decision where he had his moments against the much more experienced boxer.

Jake Paul had been calling out many MMA names.  He will step up in competition to face former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on August 28 on a Showtime event.  A former collegiate wrestling all American, Woodley is known for his knockout power in MMA, but the 39-year-old is past his prime and had lost his last four inside the octagon.

Triller no longer has Jake Paul under contract, but they continue to sign MMA fighters to box.  Anderson Silva will not be the only Brazilian MMA legend boxing on Saturday night as Vitor Belfort, who is 1-0 as a pro boxer, will fight “The Real Tarzan” Mike Holston on the undercard of Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr.

Other Notable MMA Fighters who have boxed professionally

Here is a list of other notable past and current MMA fighters who have boxed professionally, along with their pro boxing records in parentheses.

Ali Bagautinov (2-0), Mikey Burnett (1-0), Donald Cerrone (0-1), Carlos Condit (0-1), Patrick Cote (0-1), Jeff Curran (2-2-1), Nick Diaz (1-0), Yves Edwards (2-0), Aleksander Emelianenko (1-0-1), Andre Ewell (0-4), Leonard Garcia (0-1), Melvin Guillard (0-1-1), Dennis Hallman (1-3), Jeremy Horn (1-0), Mark Hunt (0-2-1), Dustin Jacoby (1-0), Keith Jardine (3-0-1), Sergei Kharitonov (1-0), Justine Kish (1-0), Jennifer Maia (3-0), Jorge Masvidal (1-0), Court McGee (2-1), Guy Mezger (1-0), Pat Miletich (1-0), Jeff Monson (2-0-1), John Moraga (1-3), Billy Quarantillo (1-0), Michael Page (2-0), Luis Pena (0-2-1), Costas Philippou (3-0), Ricco Rodriguez (1-1), Cody Stamann (0-1), Din Thomas (1-0-1), Alexander Volkanovski ( 1-0), James Vick (0-1),  

Anderson Silva

This Saturday, June 19, Anderson Silva will be stepping in the ring to box one of the greatest names of boxing in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.  Many people may not know that Anderson Silva is 1-1 as a pro boxer.  After losing his pro boxing debut in 1998, Silva won his second pro boxing match in 2005, against a Brazilian boxer named Julio Cesar de Jesus. 

Of course, Silva is known for his illustrious MMA career.  He was the greatest middleweight UFC champion of all time and one of the best MMA fighters n the history of the sport.  After defeating Rich Franklin for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 64 in 2006, Silva defended his middleweight title for a record 10 times.  He last fought in the main event of a UFC Fight Night in October of 2020, losing by fourth round TKO to Uriah Hall.  Silva’s MMA record is 34-11, 1 NC.

Boxing – MMA Crossover Conclusion

There appears to be more MMA fighters who have boxed professionally than boxers who have fought MMA.  This makes sense as boxing is just one facet of MMA.

The early UFC’s and James Toney vs. Randy Couture answered the question, how would a pure boxer do in MMA?  Holly Holm showed that a world class boxer with years of high-level MMA training could become an MMA world champion.  Will Caressa Shields add to her boxing world titles and become a world champion in MMA?

We have seen a recent trend of MMA fighters turning to pro boxing.  Who will be the next big name MMA fighters to crossover to boxing?