In a few short years Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz has morphed from an absurd notion into an inevitability and a reminder that, in combat sports, anything can happen.
This transformation is thanks to Paul showing he’s a viable draw in the boxing ring and Diaz gaining his freedom from the UFC thanks to his win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 (his final contractually obligated appearance).
With Diaz now free to decided who, where and how he wants to fight (what a concept!) the stars are starting to align for what could be the most lucrative venture of his career.
Paul is currently booked to face another former UFC crowd favourite. His fight with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva is set for next month. However, after that bout, ‘The Problem Child’ will be available for a bout with one of Stockton’s finest.
When speaking to iD Boxing, Diaz confirmed a fight with Paul could be in the works.
“(Jake Paul) is for sure one of the options,” Diaz said (ht MMAJunkie). “He’s doing big stuff. He’s doing big things. He’s got a big fight ahead of him. If he wins that, I’m sure people will be really impressed by it. And if Anderson does his thing on him, that’s impressive also. Now we’ve got a fight on his hands. I’m looking forward to it.”
Diaz said he couldn’t pick a winner between Paul or Silva and gave both men a 50-50 shot at winning (despite Silva’s legend status in combat sports).
During this recent interview Diaz also spoke about his fondness for boxing and his hopes to enter the boxing ring as a pro in the near future.
“From 17 or 18 years old, I was starting to fight, I was boxing with my boxing coach,” he said. “There were boxers all over my gym, and I was going to box initially, but MMA shows were more around my area, and they were happening, so I got stuck in MMA. I got stuck in a cage this whole time with contracts and stuff. Now everything is open for the taking. I never stopped training for a boxing fight since I started fighting. When the right opponent or right thing comes, we’re going to take it.”
A good example of how shocking a Paul vs. Diaz fight once sounded is by checking in with past statements from UFC President Dana White. In January he said that fight would “never” happen. However, in June White changed his tune and said that Diaz “probably should” fight Paul.
Well, now Diaz probably will fight Paul (and make a lot of money doing so).