Thiago Santos And Kevin Lee Among Those Calling To Be Jake Paul’s First PFL Opponent

With Jake Paul having now under contract to do an MMA fight in the PFL promotion, some of the biggest stars in the company are now campaigning to be his first opponent in the cage.

Among them is former UFC light-heavyweight title contender Thiago Santos, who signed for PFL in September of last year and has now indicated on social media that he wants to welcome Paul to MMA.

It was only a few years ago that Santos was fighting for the light-heavyweight title, giving Jon Jones one of his toughest tests to date, though ultimately losing out by split decision to end a four-fight winning streak.

However, that was to prove to be the start of a downward spiral for the now 39-year-old Santos, who has lost five of his last six fights, including being TKO’d by Jamahal Hill back in August in what was to be his final Octagon appearance.

Meanwhile, another ex-UFC Kevin Lee, who has claimed he is a free agent after a brief stint in the Eagle FC promotion, has also expressed his interest in locking horns with Paul.

“If Jake Paul is serious about MMA and if he really wants to fight,” Lee told TMZ Sports. “If he wants to have that respect, he wants to have that attention, he wants people to take him seriously, he’s going to have to fight a serious fighter,” he said.

“He’s going to have somebody for real, for real. I’m the best option for that. I’m in my prime. I’ve fought the who’s-who of MMA. I’ve fought six different world champions.

“When you talk about Tony Ferguson, Charles Oliviera, Edson Barboza, Michael Chiesa, Rafael dos Anjos… There are so many guys that I’ve fought, and I’ve already been there and done that. And I’m still in the prime of my career.

“If he was even to make it to a bell with me… if he was to make it to the end of the fight or if he can make it past the first round, people who really know the sport – and I’m talking about Dana White – would look at it and say ‘Oh, OK. This kid could fight Leon Edwards one day. This kid could fight Kamaru Usman one day. Now he would be in different conversations.

“So if he wants those conversations, he know who to come to. I’m gonna sign with PFL, and we’re gonna make some sh*t happen.”

Like Santos, Lee had built a name for himself in the UFC, but left the company after a disappointing period in which he mustered just two wins from 7 fights.

Unlike Santos, The 30-year-old Lee would be undersized against Paul, having fought most of his career at lightweight before moving up to welterweight, while Paul is most likely to compete at middleweight after taking his recent boxing bouts at around 187lbs.

No doubt there will be many others calling for what will be one of the highest profile fights outside of the UFC in a long time when Paul does finally step into the PFL cage for the first time.

That’s not likely to happen any time soon though, with the current word being that he intends to train in the sport for a year before making his debut.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.