UFC legend Michael Bisping has said that he has changed his mind on "hating" Jake Paul after a zoom call with the YouTube star.
Paul burst on to the boxing scene last year after making his professional debut and later knocking out basketball star Nate Robinson, and has proven incredibly divisive.
And he is one of the more unpopular figures in the MMA world, despite never having competed in the sport, due to his trash talking and crossover bouts with Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.
But Bisping, a former UFC middleweight champion and one-time potential opponent of Paul's, has said that he was taken aback during a zoom call with the social media star that he was more intelligent than expected.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Bisping admitted to changing his mind on Paul, saying that he now views the unbeaten boxer as "alright".
"Jake Paul, whether you love him or you hate him, and I didn't even know him but for some reason I hated him right?" Bisping mused.
"For some reason I was sick of hearing his voice and his name and I was asking 'who is this person'?
"But the more I was exposed to him, I'm not going to lie, he's alright.
"I had a zoom with him one day and I was actually struck by how intelligent he was."
Bisping is a popular figure with hardcore and casual fight fans alike, after winning the title in one of the most stunning upset victories in history.
But he understands that his stance on Paul may make him unpopular, given how wildly antagonistic he has been to some of the sport's biggest stars like Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Kamaru Usman.
"I know you're going to think I'm crazy for saying that," Bisping continued.
"And then with his fights, you can't hate on what he's doing. I actually have no issue with the guy.
"Alright he's talking a lot of s*** about a lot of people, he's trying to get attention, he's doing the right thing you know, it's working.
"This guy is making f***ing so much money."
And Bisping has admitted that he is taken in by Paul's latest bet offer for his fellow Mancunian Tommy Fury.
The YouTube star has offered Fury a further $500,000 should he manage to beat him in their proposed December bout, with the caveat that he must change his name legally to 'Tommy Fumbles' should he lose.
"Look what he did to Tommy Fury," Bisping added.
"Giving him an extra $500,000 if he can beat him and that's great but then he's got to get his name changed to Tommy Fumbles.
"I mean, come on, this s***'s awesome, it's fantastic."
Social media sensation Paul is expected to fight Tommy Fury in December, and Bisping has said that he would like to see him then face Nate Diaz in the early-to-middle part of next year.
It had been reported that Paul would fight Fury a week before Christmas in Miami, but his promotional company 'Most Valuable Promotions' have denied the supposed date and location.Read More Read More