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Former UFC champ Anthony Pettis open to boxing match with YouTuber Jake Paul

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Anthony Pettis is interested in a boxing match with Jake Paul.

UFC 181 - Pettis v Melendez Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Now that Anthony Pettis is no longer with the UFC, ‘Showtime’ has much more freedom to pursue other avenues in the combat sports sphere.

The former WEC and UFC lightweight champion recently signed with Professional Fighters League (PFL) but hopes to step foot in the boxing ring one day, teasing of a potential showdown with YouTuber-turned-pro-boxer Jake Paul, who is expected to fight Pettis’ ex-teammate Ben Askren in a boxing match on March 28.

Pettis thinks the criticism towards Paul is unfair and credited the 23-year-old for his dedication to the sport as well as his highlight reel KO of Nate Robinson last year.

“Bro, I would love to box,” Pettis told TMZ Sports in a recent interview (h/t BJPenn.com). “I haven’t boxed yet, so I’m 0-0. Boxing’s something I grew up watching my whole life. That’s why I got into fighting, honestly. Watching Chavez, De La Hoya, Mayweather, all these guys (while I was) up and coming.

“But man, (Paul) looked good against another professional athlete. Nate didn’t look like he shouldn’t have been in here, honestly. I’m like, ‘Yo, like did he get any sparring sessions in?’ Honestly, did anyone not show him how to get into a stance? Like he’s just running at him. But I respect him for getting in that ring, bro. Everybody has this talk like, ‘Yo I can fight, if I get in there I can do this.’ It takes a special person to actually get in there and try that sh*t man. We see what happens when you’re not prepared.”

“I think he’s definitely getting better,” he added. “He prepared for a boxing match, so you could tell he was in boxing shape. He was in a stance, at least. But it’s going to be interesting to see how far he can go with it. He’s definitely an athlete. You look at both of the brothers, they’re definitely in good shape and they stay in good shape. It’s not like they’re two couch potatoes jumping in there against professional athletes. They definitely train the part.”

Pettis signed with PFL in December and is expected to compete in the promotion’s 2021 lightweight tournament, where the MMA veteran will get the chance to win a $1 million cash prize.