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Paul Smith is ready for MMA battle against Jake Quickenden

Thursday 2nd November 2023, 10:25am

Paul Smith

Stand-up comedian Paul Smith is taking on X Factor singer and reality TV star Jake Quickenden in a fight this weekend dubbed "stage to the cage".

The two will battle it out as international fighting format Oktagon MMA comes to Manchester's AO Arena for the first time on Saturday (4th November).

Smith, who rose to fame via YouTube videos showing his MC work at Liverpool's Hot Water Comedy Club, says of his training: "We've been doing at least one to two hard sparring sessions a week. When I first started doing them I was terrified. And the first hard spar I did - I swear it felt like I was drowning. It was just so bad. And the way they work in the gym, because obviously I'm prepping for a fight, we'll do a five minute round. Then we'll have a minute rest, then I'll get a fresh partner. So I'm getting a fresh body each time. So I'm knackered and I'm fighting a completely fresh person. By the third or fourth round in, you can barely hold your hands up, and you just get punched everywhere. It's then being able to cope with that helplessness and still listen to the coach. And just being able to pull any [attack] in those rounds is a massive victory. And as the weeks have progressed. I've gone from dread to kind of actually - not enjoying it - but not dreading it. I'm managing to hold my own now. it's a real baptism of fire."

Jake vs Paul Stage To The Cage. Image shows left to right: Jake Quickenden, Paul Smith

Talking about Saturday's fight he says: "It's a cocktail of emotions. I'm nervous about it. I'm scared. I'm excited. But I feel prepared for it, which is a weird thing to say. The threat of being punched in the face repeatedly is a good motivator to prepare properly and it's been a tough year. Part of me is feeling scared - it's a fight and he's a big athletic, strong looking guy, so obviously going to be a tough 15 min. But the rounds I'm doing in the gym, I'm thinking [the fight] will be an easy week for me. I'm kind of excited and then I can get fat again."

He adds: "I really want to win, I am very competitive. I wouldn't lie about that. But beyond that I just want it to be a good fight. I want to show that we have put this work in. I don't want to disparage anyone but it's not going to be like some of the recent celebrity fights. They're a joke. They're embarrassing some of them - not all of them - but some of them. I know we've both put a lot of work into this, so I want it to look like we're not complete beginners. And we have got skills and we have learned certain things over the last year, and I want it to be a competitive and entertaining fight. If it's competitive and entertaining and I've lost - I've got caught with something - I'll be happy with that. I think I'll be able to live with that. Ideally, though I just walk out and smash his fucking head in."

Channel 4 has been filming the duo preparing for the fight. You can stream OKTAGON MMA - Stage to the Cage now.

The trailer for the event below also contains footage of Smith and Quickenden preparing:

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