UFC and Bellator veteran Chris Avila has no plans to stop fighting in mixed martial arts but he’s hoping the boxing community will start paying more attention to his work in the ring alongside the rest of the athletes training out of the Nick Diaz academy in California.
Avila, who had his first boxing match back in 2014 before finally returning to the ring for a win over Anthony Taylor on the recent Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley 2 event, has long desired the opportunity to compete in multiple combat sports.
Now that he’s finally crossed over to boxing again, Avila is ready to prove what he can do while simultaneously showcasing the work he’s putting in alongside teammates such as UFC star Nate Diaz.
“It’s good that I got to showcase that I’m a boxer,” Avila said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I actually am a boxer. It’s one of the arts that I train in on a daily basis. I have a real boxing coach. I come from a boxing background. We’re real martial artists here at the Nick Diaz academy so we’re not your typical MMA fighter.
“We have real boxers. We train with high level boxers. It’s nothing new to me. It felt good to go out there and show that I was the show. I bring the show. There’s no doubting that now that everyone saw what they saw. Just showed the level that I’m on is a lot higher than these guys that are getting the attention and these big fights.”
Following his win over Taylor in December, Avila has already started talking about an eventual showdown against Tommy Fury, who was originally scheduled to face Paul on the same night.
Part of the reason Avila wants the Fury fight is so he can continue to prove that he’s able to beat boxers that are getting a lot more shine than him right now without the skills to back it up.
“Tommy Fury, he ain’t got nothing on me or my team,” Avila said. “I feel that’s a fight I can hands down win and advance to the bigger fights and eventually get to a fight with Jake Paul.
“These guys are just not on my level. I’ve got to find these ways to showcase it. I got that boost so here I am, just letting everybody know that I’m the show.”
Avila mentioned the Paul fight as a long term goal as the former YouTube celebrity and social influencer turned boxer continues to serve as one of the most polarizing figures in all of combat sports.
Since turning his attention to boxing, Paul has put together a perfect 5-0 record with four knockouts including a pair of devastating finishes over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley and ex-Bellator champion Ben Askren.
While Avila would love the chance to face Paul, he would also gladly watch Diaz land that fight thanks to the always outspoken “Problem Child” taking aim at him quite often in interviews and over social media.
“I’m down to see that fight [between Nate and Jake Paul],” Avila said. “But when you fight Nate Diaz, you’re getting the realest fighter of all time right there. So these guys are sitting here calling his name and eventually he’s going to get in the boxing ring and I’m excited to see it. Who he’s going to box is his choice. He’s going to make a stamp and a statement in boxing, easy.
“The Jake Paul fight, Jake Paul’s team is zero, we’re one up already. That last fight was a Paul-Diaz, team versus team, Jake Paul made that. They’re already down one. So if he wants to get in the ring with Nate or me, it would be fine with either of us. I know that’s a fight I can win. I know that’s a fight Nate would win, hands down. Easy money.”
There’s no doubt that a matchup between Diaz and Paul would attract a lot of attention both through ticket sales and pay-per-view but Avila wants to join that upper echelon himself so he can start demanding those higher profile fights.
He already made an impact on the Paul vs. Woodley 2 undercard and Avila is determined to do even more with plans to compete five or six times in 2022.
“I just showed the level that I’m on is a lot higher than these guys that are getting the attention and these big fights,” Avila said. “I fought in the UFC, I fought in Bellator a couple times. I fought in PFL before they were PFL. I fought in big organizations. I fought on the biggest pay-per-view cards, Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch.
“I’ve fought on those big stages. That was just a normal fight to me, I’ve already been on the biggest stages.”