Jake Paul could be handed a surprise world ranking by the WBC this weekend if he beats Anderson Silva, paving the way for a potential world title shot in the future.

YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul makes his ring return against MMA legend Silva at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday.

It is the first time Paul has fought since beating another former UFC fighter, Tyron Woodley, in their rematch last December to take his professional record to 5-0.

Paul was initially due to fight his former sparring partner Hasim Rahman Jr at Madison Square Garden on August 6.

Paul will instead face Silva this weekend, the toughest test so far in his professional career.

Ahead of the cancelled fight with Rahman Jr, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced Paul would earn himself a top 15 ranking if he had won the bout.

Sulaiman has now revealed that Paul could be handed a spot in the WBC’s rankings if he beats Silva.

“Jake Paul has a record in professional boxing and he has been improving the level of opposition,” he told Fight Hype.

“Of course the WBC ratings committee is open to consider fighters for rankings considering all of the different variables which are activity, level of opposition, results and so on.

“So let’s see what happens Saturday. At the convention, the rankings will be addressed and the whole committee will meet.

Paul returns to the ring this weekend against Anderson Silva (Image: Alamy)”Twenty-four people from all over the world meeting to come up with an official ratings for November, so we will keep an eye on Jake Paul to see what happens.”

Paul has faced accusations of cherry-picking his opponents since moving into the world of professional boxing.

But while he is more renowned for his skills in the octagon, Silva still represents a huge step up for Paul.

The Brazilian is widely viewed as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time and holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history, having held the middleweight belt for 2,457 days between 2006 and 2013 – a run which included 16 consecutive victories in the octagon.

Sulaiman, meanwhile, has defended Paul from criticism and believes both he and his older brother, Logan Paul, deserve praise for what they have achieved in boxing.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has suggested Paul could be given a top 15 ranking if he beats Silva (Image: Alamy)”People did not like Muhammad Ali, half of the people that watched him wanted him to lose,” said Sulaiman.

“They called him a traitor and all of these names, but today he is regarded as the greatest athlete in the history of humanity.

“Floyd Mayweather, a lot of people didn’t like to see him and wanted him to lose. People may want to see Jake Paul lose but they are going to tune in.

“It’s very easy to criticise and simply bully people in the cyberspace because of personal situations, but what Jake and Logan Paul have done is a miracle so let’s support them.”