‘I think Nate Diaz slaps the head off him’ — Conor McGregor gives his pick for Jake Paul fight

Conor McGregor believes Nate Diaz will have an easy fight against Jake Paul.

By: Lucas Rezende | 1 month ago
‘I think Nate Diaz slaps the head off him’ — Conor McGregor gives his pick for Jake Paul fight
LAS VEGAS, NV - March 4: Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane : Event on March 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States.Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages Louis Grasse / SPP PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRAxMEX Copyright: xLouisxGrassex/xSPPx SPP_157534

When it comes to MMA fighters in celebrity boxing, Conor McGregor was something of a trend setter. His massive PPV bout against Floyd Mayweather in 2017 proved that there was a big sizeable, untapped audience for potentially poorly matched boxing contests between noted celebrities. In that case, both men happened to have built their celebrity purely through combat sports, but Jake and Logan Paul have since proved that that’s not nearly as important a part of the recipe as being able to sell the public on the necessity of the fight.

To date, McGregor has only taken the one boxing bout, but we’ve seen a whole passel of high level pro MMA fighters look to make their own crossover. The most recent of these is a former foe of the ‘Notorious’ Irishman, Stockton native Nate Diaz.

Diaz is currently set to take on Jake Paul in a PPV boxing match on August 5th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. The fight will be the first bout for Diaz outside the UFC Octagon since fighting Hermes Franca at WEC 24 in 2006. The 38-year-old Cesar Gracie BJJ black belt completed his UFC contract in 2022 and decided to make a bid for free agency rather than returning to the world’s largest MMA promotion.

Conor McGregor predicts an easy fight for Diaz

In a recent interview with Inside Fighting, Conor McGregor as asked about the upcoming bout between his former rival and the YouTube star turned pugilist. Though McGregor claimed he will not be watching the fight, the threw his support behind Diaz—with the expectation that the former UFC title contender will have an easy time of it.

“I think Nate Diaz slaps the head off him, and I look forward to seeing it,” McGregor said.

“I’ll probably be on the Lamborghini just off the coast of Sicily,” he added, when asked whether he will be watching the match live or not.

Jake Paul and Matt Brown beg to differ with Conor McGregor

Having heard about McGregor’s comments, Paul took to his personal Twitter account with a reply. After taunting the SBG Ireland fighter about his own boxing skills and knockout power, Paul took the opportunity to also call out McGregor for a fight in the former champion’s own backyard.

“I’m a better boxer than you Conor and will do what you couldn’t and knock Nate out,” Paul tweeted. “After Nate let’s box as the co main event same night as Katie Taylor VS. [sic] Amanda Serrano in Dublin. But since you’re not your own boss you will hide behind Dana or just drink the rest of your life away. August 5th you will see.”

Jake Paul isn’t the only one confident he’ll finish Diaz. In an interview on MMA Fighting’s Writer vs Fighter podcast, retired welterweight Matt Brown shared the same opinion. For the ‘Immortal’, simple power will be the key factor. In fact, the 42-year-old only sees one path for Diaz to win the fight—to use his durability to wear out his opponent.

“Because there’s going to be a power difference, and Nate’s probably used to being the taller man in fights, that’s certainly not going to be the case this time so that’s going to be different for him,” Brown said. “Really the only chance I see of him winning is just simply wearing him out. It’s hard to do in boxing than MMA. It’s harder to do. Jake will be able to block better with the bigger gloves. He’s only got to worry about two weapons. It’s just a million different things.

“It’s just an uphill battle for Nate when we talk about wins and losses, but like you said, he’s getting paid, good for him. He’s going to f-cking retire a multi-millionaire. He’s got a lot of money in the bank. I hope he doesn’t waste it and blow it on something stupid but good for him.”

Conor McGregor’s history with Nate Diaz

Conor McGregor (22-6) has not had a boxing match since his 2017 debut, a TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather. As for mixed martial arts, the 34-year-old is currently on a two-fight losing skid with back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier, with the most recent one being a TKO loss in July 2021. In fact, the Irishman has not won a fight since January 2020, when he TKO’d now retired veteran Donald Cerrone.

McGregor and Diaz went 1-1 in their two UFC bouts. For their first fight, McGregor had been set to fight then-champion Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 196. An injury to RDA forced him off the card and set the UFC scrambling for a late replacement. Diaz was said to have been pulled from partying on vacation into the headlining PPV bout on two-weeks notice. He won the fight via second round submission.

A rematch was immediately booked for August that same year. With a full camp for both men, McGregor got his revenge—coming back from a rough third round (after hurting Diaz early) to win a majority decision. Despite their rivalry standing even with one victory a piece, neither McGregor, nor Diaz, nor the UFC has made serious effort to book a third fight between them.

At the moment, Diaz (21-13) is fresh off a submission win over former UFC interim lightweight Tony Ferguson, in September 2022. The victory provided a bounce back from a two-fight losing skid, with losses to now welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal, respectively in June 2021 and November 2019.

Conor McGregor is expected to take on former Bellator champion Michael Chandler at a yet-to-be determined date later this year, following their rival coaching stint on the latest season of the Ultimate fighter. That booking is slightly up in the air, however, with McGregor’s continued reluctance to re-enter the USADA testing pool.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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