After his loss to professional boxer Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul has already announced his next pay-per-view fight with notorious UFC legend Nate Diaz.
Paul and Diaz, who have exchanged some heated words in the past as many speculated whether the celebrity fighter would step into the ring with the now-retired MMA pro, will be competing face to face on Aug. 5 in Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Center.
This event will be promoted through Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions in partnership with Diaz’s Real Fight Inc., which he launched after his last official fight with the UFC last summer. For Diaz to not only be boxing but also promoting for the first time marks a new chapter in his 15 year professional fighting career. With Paul and Diaz squaring off in the ring, the two pay-per-view draws are expected to bring massive sales to this event.
The two men have for nearly two years made many wonder whether their online trash talking and calling each other out during interviews would ever actually manifest into anything, especially as many wondered whether Diaz still had some fight in him or if he’d simply retire from the fight game entirely while Paul’s attempts to manifest bigger fights with bigger names kept soaring, especially last October when he fought Brazilian MMA legend Anderson Silva, winning that match.
Things got heated on the night of Paul’s fight with Silva when Diaz, who was in attendance, got into a verbal and physical altercation with Paul’s father and another member of his staff.
“I haven’t seen the video, and I didn’t really know what happened,” Paul said at the time. “I just know there was an altercation with my team. I was focused on what was going on, and I was made aware of it afterward.”
“It’s typical of him. It’s what he likes to do. He’s a street gangster,” Paul declared. “He likes to act tough, and he’s really not. Why are you trying to beat somebody up in a hallway, bro?”
For their match in August, both fighters have agreed to fight at 185 pounds, which will be a fair but challenging weight for both of them. Historically, Diaz fought during his MMA career at 155 pounds, finishing his last fight at 170 pounds while Paul has fought at both 191.5, and more recently at 183 pounds when he fought Fury a few months ago.
“My last fight didn’t end the way I wanted, but the result was the best thing that could have happened to my professional boxing aspirations,” said Paul in a statement announcing the fight with Diaz. “Now, the world thinks I am vulnerable, when all I am is more focused than ever before. My team wanted me to take an easy fight like KSI next, but that’s not how I am built. Nate Diaz is considered one of the most bad-ass fighters of all time, but he and his team have been running their mouths for too long.”
“Besides Canelo, he’s the biggest [thing] in boxing,” Diaz admitted in a statement. “I’m here to conquer that. I’m the King of combat sports and then I’m headed back to get my UFC belts. I f***ed up Conor for acting out and now here I am again, like a Super Hero of the Real Fight game, the King of the Real Fight game.”
While Diaz has made it clear he intends to return to the UFC at some point in the future to complete a trilogy fight with Conor McGregor, the opportunity to make a large sum of money with Paul was obviously too good to pass on, which Paul also agrees.
Most Valuable Promotions co-founder Nakisa Bidarian said in a statement that “Jake’s star power and popularity continue to command massive audiences worldwide. His recent bout, Paul vs. Fury, surpassed more than 800,000 pay-per-view purchases and was a commercial success for all our partners. Jake remains one of the most avidly followed fighters in the sport and all eyes are on him, wondering what’s next. Well, what’s next is one of the most vicious men in the cage.”
Zach Rosenfield, the president of Diaz’s Real Fight Inc. also followed up, also doubling down that this will perhaps be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fight of the year.
“Nate’s departure from the UFC made him the most sought-after free agent in combat sports history with all eyes looking to see what his next move would be. In choosing to make his boxing debut against Jake Paul, Nate found an opponent where there is an organic, non-scripted backstory that motivates him and will clearly capture the excitement of audiences throughout the world.
What are your thoughts? Will you be tuning in to watch Jake Paul fight Nate Diaz? Let us know in the comments below.