Jake Paul wants to compete in MMA, and that has caught the eye of a few veterans of the sport.
Count former UFC contender and current PFL commentator Kenny Florian among the bunch who are not only interested to see how Paul would fare in an MMA cage, but have grown to enjoy his journey in the combat sports world.
Paul made some waves on the boxing scene by gradually ramping up his level of competition from YouTuber to former MMA champions, but now he wants more. To prove it, Paul signed a multiyear deal with PFL to test his skills in MMA, which is something that intrigues Florian.
“Candidly, I really wasn’t the biggest Jake Paul fan,” Florian said. “You know, when he was doing the boxing thing, I was like, ‘Oh, here’s this guy, he’s trying to take advantage of a situation here. And he’s going to fight once, and he’s going to lose, and we’re never going to see this guy again.’ And lo and behold, he’s continued to have boxing fights, he’s undefeated in boxing making a ton of money.
“Now, I know there’s other things he can do. He’s making a ton of money regardless. He’s already a multi-millionaire. This isn’t the easiest way to make money. For that, he has my respect, because he has continued to do this. And now he’s talking about entering a mixed martial arts contest, which is again, another beast altogether. … I’m interested to see how it all goes down.”
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Signing up to compete in MMA is one thing, but Paul has done so much more than that during his short time in the combat sports world.
As a boxer, Paul has already defeated a number of former MMA champions, including Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, and Anderson Silva. He currently has a match with Tommy Fury scheduled for Feb. 26 in Saudi Arabia.
As he embarks on his journey to fight in the MMA cage, he has called out Nate Diaz for a pair of fights; one in boxing and one in MMA. Not to mention, all along the way, he has threatened to shake up the business of MMA by wanting to form a fighter union to resolve pay and healthcare issues.
For all of those reasons, Florian finds it tough to rule out any potential goal that Paul wants to achieve in this space.
“He’s obviously a great athlete and a big, strong kid who’s been backing up a lot of this trash talk,” Florian said. “I’m waiting for some kind of mixed martial arts fighter to go in there and shut him up sometimes. So, it’s interesting times, man. Crazy times. Anything and everything can happen, so I don’t write anything off these days.”