Following his fight with Hasim Rahman Jr. on August 6 at Madison Square Garden, Jake Paul chose former MMA great Nate Diaz as his most desired boxing opponent.
In an interview published Saturday, Paul stated that he is only waiting for Diaz to finish his UFC career.
“I think Nate Diaz is first and foremost,” he added. “That’s the one that everyone’s been wanting. Everyone knows he only has one or two fights left with the UFC.”
The YouTube sensation, who has a 5-0 record in boxing, also mentioned Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as a potential future opponent. Before Rahman was chosen, Chavez was considered to replace Tommy Fury in the August bout.
Despite the fact that Fury was unavailable for their first two scheduled fights, first due to injury and later due to visa concerns, Paul previously told TMZ that fighting Fury is still on the table. He’s not certain Fury genuinely wants to fight.
“I don’t buy it,” he said. “I had multiple people hit me up that said, ‘I can get him in. I have connections to people at the embassy. We’ll get him his visa, no problem.’ And I DM’d Tommy, and he just went into hiding.”
Meanwhile, Paul may not have to wait for Diaz’s UFC contract to expire before bringing that blockbuster match to the venue.
In June, UFC President Dana White told The Mac Life (via Yahoo Sports’ Jack Baer) that they are looking for a fight for Diaz, but his best choice may be to leave the Octagon and enter the boxing ring.
“Nate has won one fight in five years. We’re trying to figure this out thing thing out with him,” White explained. “He probably should go on and fight Jake Paul. That’s a fight that makes sense.”
Those remarks came after Diaz tweeted a request for a bout before the end of August, along with a video of Paul knocking out former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley:
Nathan Diaz’s Twitter social media post:
“Ufc release now please or give me fight with anyone in July or august
I have bigger shit to do”
Whether or whether he gets his UFC fight, it appears that switching to boxing for what will almost certainly be a lucrative clash with Paul is a definite conclusion.
Paul is attempting to advance through the boxing ranks by fighting in high-profile contests rather than taking on a succession of lower-level opponents.
He’s defeated Woodley twice, as well as former MMA fighter Ben Askren, former NBA player Nate Robinson, and fellow YouTuber Ali “AnEsonGib” Al-Fakhri.
It’s difficult to say how far he has to go in the fight game, but excellent performances against Rahman, Chavez, and/or Fury may make a big statement.
A fight with Diaz, who is 37 and no longer at the top of his abilities, would be more made-for-hype, but it would still be a compelling match.
Mark Magsayo is deposed by Rey Vargas
Mark Magsayo, the 24-0 WBC featherweight champion, met another unbeaten fighter, 35-0 Rey Vargas, in a 12-round main event Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Showtime televised the fight live. In the opening round, the two guys swapped heavy leather, throwing quickly and hard at each other. Vargas went for the kill in the second round. Magsayo, on the other hand, looked to be a little stronger. Magsayo appeared to be controlling the speed of the battle in the opening part of the third. Vargas, on the other hand, did a much better job of keeping his guy at bay in the second half.
Magsayo had a difficult time getting to his man in the fourth. Vargas had a solid fifth, landing when he could and holding when Magsayo moved in on him. Magsayo, on the other hand, was able to land and land well in spots. Magsayo repeatedly hit Vargas in the head in the sixth round. Vargas, to his credit, made good shots. Magsayo appeared to be able to land efficiently rather frequently by the halfway of the fight. Vargas could land as well, but he was taking a lot of clean blows to the head. The question arose whether Vargas, who was throwing more, would be considered the more active of the two.
Vargas used his jab brilliantly in the eighth inning. Magsayo hit numerous excellent head blows, but they seemed to have little to no effect. Vargas’ height advantage was increasingly obvious as the match progressed. Vargas was eliminated in the eighth inning. He won the count, but the challenger was now feeling Magsayo’s might. Magsayo delivered the more telling blows in the tenth. Vargas prevented Magsayo from scoring in the tenth.
Vargas fired from range in the twelfth and final round while being pursued by Magsayo. It was a high-energy, fast-paced bout. However, the judges awarded Vargas a split decision victory and the WBC featherweight championship.