Jake Paul has explained his reasoning for taking on another former MMA fighter in Nate Diaz for his next bout instead of facing an actual boxer.
The 26-year-old is set to welcome Diaz to the boxing ring for the first time when the pair meet at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas this Saturday. Paul has already bested a number of former MMA fighters during his boxing career, but in his last fight against Tommy Fury he suffered his first loss via split decision.
It seems as if most fans have finally accepted Paul’s place in the combat sports landscape after his victories over fighters like Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley. But ahead of the Diaz matchup, Stephen A. Smith had to ask “The Problem Child” why he wasn’t taking on another boxer for his eighth pro bout.
“Man, I’ve always wanted this fight with Nate Diaz, and there’s been beef there,” Paul explained. “The whole reason this all started was people were talking smack to me and I had to settle the beef. So he said a lot of things about me, my family, my career, and basically has said that he would beat my a**. And I’m not okay with that, so I want to settle the beef man to man.”
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Diaz has largely appeared disinterested in generating much hype around his boxing debut, but Paul also knows that the former UFC title challenger’s popularity and skillset make him the right opponent at this stage of the 26-year-old’s career.
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“He’s a massive name. He’s a massive name, he brings a lot to the table. He’s been boxing since he was 16 years old with world champion Andre Ward. So he’s been boxing and he’s tough and he comes forward and he makes exciting fights. So I think the fans are the ones who are gonna win out of all of this.”
There’s no denying that Diaz is one of the most recognizable figures in the history of the UFC and MMA as a whole, but there are certainly some questions about how he’s going to fair in his first pro boxing bout against a larger and significantly younger opponent.
One thing that fans can certainly count on is that Diaz will show up to fight, and although he competed sporadically through his final few years in the UFC, the 38-year-old did cap off his time with the promotion by scoring a submission win over Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 279.
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