Chris Avila: ‘I’m levels above’ Jeremy Stephens, won’t return to Misfits Boxing

Chris Avila isn’t that surprised he came out ahead against Jeremy Stephens on the Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz undercard.

If it were MMA, Avila would be heavily favored to lose against the perennial octagon standout. But he met Stephens in the boxing ring, where he has an advantage.

“He is a hard puncher, but I didn’t feel anything, and I’m just levels above him,” Avila said of Stephens at the post-fight press conference after his unanimous decision win over Stephens. “That’s all that happened. That’s all that is.

“I knew the fight was going to play out something like that, so I did what I do. I’m a boxer first, too, and also an MMA fighter. I train arts separately. I’m not just an MMA-trained type of guy.”

Stephens, whose MMA record is 29-20, came out swinging with the same hard punches he used to knock out opponents in the UFC. While Avila took several of them, he was never in danger of being stopped. And unlike his MMA counterpart, he had a better understanding of the positions, timing, and angles of professional boxing. As the fight went on, he regularly out-struck Stephens, whose boxing experience was limited to a draw with former featherweight UFC champ Jose Aldo.

After Avila’s 8-9 run as a professional MMA fighter, with stints in UFC and Bellator, he is in the midst of a renaissance as a professional boxer. The win over Stephens followed another dominant win in the Misfits Boxing promotion in April. But according to Avila, he has no interest in making a home in the influencer boxing promotion.

“I’m not into that kind of stuff,” he said. “I did that show, and it was just a bunch of amateurs, and there isn’t anybody there worthy of fighting. So they need to step their game up. There’s nobody in Misfits Boxing that’s worthy.”

On Saturday, Avila fought in front of a packed house in one of the biggest boxing events of the year, and he beat a highly regarded MMA fighter who likely would have dominated him in the cage. His teammate and friend Nate Diaz wasn’t as successful against influencer-turned-boxer Jake Paul, but then again, Diaz won a moral victory by being the crowd favorite.

“It was motivating,” Avila said of the response to the event. “It was cool to see a bunch of people there, and it made me feel good to go out there and show off. I had a good time.”