Le'Veon Bell is going pro.
Roughly a month after knocking out another former NFL running back in an exhibition, Bell's professional boxing debut was announced Thursday as he'll be facing longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Uriah Hall on Oct. 29 as part of the undercard of the Jake Paul-Anderson Silva Most Valuable Promotions/Showtime pay-per-view. The card will take place at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
"As soon as Most Valuable Promotions approached me about joining the Paul-Silva pay-per-view, I told them, 'I want in,' and didn't care who the opponent was," Bell said in a press release. "Uriah Hall is going to feel my punching power and tap out like he's getting submitted. He is not built like me."
Now he will fight for the first time as a professional against Hall, who is also making his pro boxing debut, in a four-round cruiserweight bout contracted at 195 pounds.
Though both fighters are making their first forays into the boxing ring as prizefighters, Hall has more than a decade's worth of combat sports experience, having begun his pro mixed martial arts career back in 2005. A perennial top-10 UFC middleweight in his run with the organization -- which ran from his time on The Ultimate Fighter in 2012 until his last bout on July 2 -- Hall owns a 17-11 MMA record with 13 knockouts. He owns notable wins over Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi, Thiago Santos and one of the card's co-headliners, Anderson Silva, whom Hall TKO'd in October of 2020 (though Silva was long past his MMA prime by that point).
"Le'Veon Bell, I hope you bring your best," Hall said in the release. "I know I will."
How Hall, 38, transitions into boxing will obviously remain to be seen, but Bell, 30, is taking a monster step up in competition from a former NFL Most Valuable Player to a former UFC KO artist.
Against Peterson, Bell landed the first and only big punch of the fight and displayed far better footwork, but will likely face an opponent in Hall who will be far more aggressive and fundamentally sound, even with a lack of pro boxing experience.
Bell played in eight NFL games in 2021 -- five with the Baltimore Ravens and three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this point, it seems far removed from his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013 through 2018 when he was one of the game's best running backs, earning two All-Pro nods and three Pro Bowl trips. He memorably sat out all of the 2018 season in a contract dispute and then joined the New York Jets on a lucrative deal ahead of the 2019 season, and his career floundered from there.
Now, he's looking for a second run in a different world as Bell is going pro once again; only this time it's in the ring and far removed from the gridiron.