Georges St-Pierre has a lot of respect for what Jake and Logan Paul have managed to accomplish in boxing over the last two years.
The YouTube personalities are two of the most talked about — and hated — fighters in combat sports, with older brother Logan set to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an exhibition bout next month and Jake fresh off a knockout win over former UFC welterweight Ben Askren.
The latter was signed by Showtime following the massive success of the Triller PPV, and GSP believes the YouTubers rank among two of the most business savvy professionals in the game.
“I’m not one of the haters,” St-Pierre told JOE.co.uk in a recent interview (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “I think they’re doing well. They’re great athletes and they ride the wave, they make a lot of money with it, and I’m glad for him. My friend Jean Pascal trained with one of them in Puerto Rico, I think they’re both there actually. He said they work very hard, they’re hard workers, they ride the wave, you know. It’s a new era with social media and all that, so why not, you know? Who would not have done it? Who would not take advantage of it? And they do it.”
When it comes to actual fighting, however, ‘Rush’ doesn’t think the Paul brothers are cut out for elite competition.
“I believe it’s a mistake to think that they could compete among the elite of boxing or mixed martial arts because it’s not true, but they are great athletes,”GSP said. “Maybe as time goes by they will improve and improve and one day if they want to give it a real shot, let’s go. I think one of them is fighting Floyd Mayweather, but of course, Floyd Mayweather is much smaller and he’s retired, so it’s not the same. It’s not a real championship bout like it would be.”
Championship material or not, St-Pierre understands there is a market for these kind of fights and that Jake and Logan Paul are simply capitalizing on a new niche.
“Triller, what they do, they make like a freak show, so to speak,” St-Pierre said. “They want to give people what they want to see, so now it’s a new era. People want to see who is the best fighter in the world, yes, that’s what real boxing fight, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, will give them. UFC, that’s what it will give them.
“But they want to see also, because they’re curious by nature I guess, they want to see that guy versus that guy because he trash talk him and he did that to him and he grabbed his hat or whatever the hell, so people are curious and that’s what Triller gives them. They give that sort of entertainment. It’s all good. I’m not one of the haters. I think there is room for everything.”
Mayweather vs. Paul takes place next month, June 6 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.