ANTHONY PETTIS has spoken out in praise of Jake Paul – and revealed his own desire to move into boxing.
Pettis headlines in the Professional Fighters League’s first semi-final of the year, in a rematch against Scotland’s Stevie Ray on Friday.
And a day after, at the iconic Madison Square Garden, Paul, 25, was due to make his boxing return against Hasim Rahman Jr, 31.
But a disagreement in weight caused the bout to be cancelled, ending Pettis’ plans to watch from ringside.
The MMA star has a relationship with Paul’s manager Nakisa Bidarian, who was once the UFC’s chief financial officer.
Pettis, 35, said: “It sucks man, because Jake Paul is actually training for these fights.
“And I think he had a couple of opponents drop out on him. I actually know Nakisa very well, Nakisa is the man who is helping Jake Paul promote.
“I think it sucks that he lost out. I think a lot of people would have come out for that, I was planning to stay to watch that.”
In Paul’s first two professional bouts, he knocked out YouTube rival “AnEsonGib” and ex-NBA player Nate Robinson, 38.
But he then beat retired UFC welterweight Ben Askren, 38, and former champ Tyron Woodley, 40, firstly on points and then KO.
Coincidentally, Askren and Woodley are both training partners of Pettis’, but the American holds no malice towards Paul.
He said: “I support all these brands, the more options fighters have, the more opportunities we have.
“I actually like what they’re doing, I like Jake Paul.
“He wants fighters to get paid more, he’s a big advocate of that and that’s only better for us as fighters.”
I think it sucks that he lost out. I think a lot of people would have come out for that, I was planning to stay to watch that.
Anthony Pettis on Jake Paul’s cancelled fight
Pettis, a former WEC and UFC title holder, qualified to the PFL’s last four after earning six points in his two regular season bouts.
In his last fight, he lost to Ray via submission but had progressed already having earned six points for a first-round KO beforehand.
A rematch win for Pettis will put him in the PFL final, where a $1million prize cheque and title belt is on the line.
But the man nicknamed “Showtime” also has his eyes on the boxing ring before his career is over.
He revealed: “I definitely want to box before I’m done fighting. I’m working with Jorge Capetillo, still a big part of my training camps.
“I’m seeing him and his little son, Dylan Capetillo, you’ve got to look out for that kid, he’s going to be a monster the way he trains.
“But yeah, I definitely want to box before this is over, before I hang up the gloves I will have a boxing match.”