Jake Paul has been a professional boxer for three years now. A fact that’s both surprising for the longevity of what once seemed a poorly conceived series of publicity stunts, but also because Paul has somehow managed not to wear out his welcome.
Despite a steady stream of mediocre performances, Paul has kept himself front and center for his ability to thrive in the ecosystem of petty drama that often comes with the combat sports world. Sure, people get more excited when a boxer has the technical skills to pay the bills, but much of the battle in getting people to show up for fight night is done outside the ring. That’s the arena where Paul really excels; selling the dream that his next booking is going to be a really good one.
Jake Paul is a note taking “lion”
Part of what made Paul such an interesting gimmick was his status as an unbeaten fighter. A social media star and brief Disney actor with a predilection for prank-based/meme content, many combat sports fans showed up for early Paul bouts just hoping to see him get humiliated. The fact that he was able to pick up victories over Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, and even UFC legend Anderson Silva kept the tension high.
Who would be the one to beat this unserious celebrity?
Turns out the answer was a guy with actual boxing experience, step-brother to the heavyweight champion—and Love Island reality TV star—Tommy Fury. Despite landing a knockdown on Fury in the last round of their February fight, Paul dropped a split decision. With his “0” officially removed, the 26-year-old has changed up his rhetoric, and is now leaning into the comeback narrative ahead of his next fight. A return to battling yesterday’s MMA stars. This time against former UFC lightweight title contender Nate Diaz.
“I have the biggest chip on my shoulder, the biggest chip on both shoulders, coming back with a vengeance, refilled with that hunger that I had in the beginning of the sport to prove to people what I was capable of,” Paul told said in a recent interview with TMZ Sports (transcript via MMA Fighting). “The lion lost, I retreated back into the jungle, I took notes of everything, I got better, I trained, and now this lion is going to come out and maul this dude.
“He’s going to have to pay for all this hard work, all the sacrifice I’ve made during this camp. I promise, I’m going to be the first person to stop him on Aug. 5. 100 percent, he’s going to sleep.”
Funny enough, Nate Diaz has been TKO’d, injury TKO’d, and submitted before. Likely Paul just means he’ll be the first one to knock Diaz out cold.
Is Nate Diaz training hard?
Whether or not Paul is putting in the work, it has to be wondered if Diaz is truly ready for his boxing debut. The Stockton native has made a lot out of his many years of high level sparring and boxing training as part of his life as a martial artist, but recent footage that dropped from one of Diaz’s sessions in the gym didn’t exactly make the 38-year-old look like a secret pugilistic star in the making.
Against an opponent that was described as “bad” and having “never fought,” Diaz didn’t look out-matched or out-classed, but it wasn’t very dynamic stuff from the Cesar Gracie black belt.
And as far as Paul’s concerned, if that’s all that Diaz is bringing to the table, he’s not going to be ready for the major step up in competition that the ‘Problem Child’ believes he can provide.
“I’m going to let my actions do the talking,” Paul continued in his TMZ interview. “When he gets in there with me, and he sees my speed, my power, my skill, and he can’t hit me, that is going to frustrate him. In that moment he’ll know that he f—ed up, and he’s about to get embarrassed, and there’s a difference between a UFC champion and a boxer, a very skilled boxer in myself. My fists are going to do all the talking.”
Would Jake Paul fight Nate Diaz in MMA though?
For all Paul’s talk about the difference between a “UFC champion” (which Nate never was), and a “very skilled boxer” (which is generous to say the least), would he be so cocksure if the tables were turned and he was fighting MMA instead of the ‘sweet science’. Paul maintains that he’s more than willing to find out, and that there’s a very generous offer on the table from the PFL if Diaz wants to run it back.
For his part, Diaz hasn’t shown any interest in either an MMA fight against Paul or a PFL deal. His goals seem entirely to be in the boxing ring, with the potential, after that, of making a return to the Octagon.
“That’s an option, the UFC,” Diaz said of his future during a press conference for his boxing bout with Paul. I would like to [return to UFC]. At the end of the day, I’d like to go back and fight for a world title. If not, I’m going to have make my own world title and make the best come to me. I would like to be back in the UFC or fight the belt holders in boxing, also.
“Right now, UFC has the best fighters in the world and have for years. I’m trying to fight the best.”
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