Another viral knockout – this one against a highly respected former UFC champ – provided Jake Paul the perfect opportunity to send a message to UFC President Dana White.
Paul had already sent one in the ring to octagon stars Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, who were ringside at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., to watch him destroy Tyron Woodley on Saturday night. But at the post-fight press conference, he delivered another to White.
“I just knocked out a five-time UFC champion and embarrassed your whole company,” said Paul, looking into the cameras. “Please, please let me get Kamaru Usman. Please let me get Nate Diaz. Please let me get Masvidal. Please let me get [Conor] McGregor, because I’m going to embarrass them, too. I promise you that, Dana. I promise you that.”
Just hours earlier, White appeared to mock the idea of watching Paul fight Woodley in a rematch of their August meeting that the YouTube star won by split call.
“We saw that fight already,” White told reporters after UFC Vegas. “You’re going to watch it? Sounds like you’re heading for a fun evening.”
White repeatedly dismissed Paul as a real fighter and lashed out after the upstart boxer took a shot at PFL fighter and boxing champ Claressa Shields, calling Paul a “goofball.” But UFC fighters have volunteered one after another to be the next MMA fighter to step into the ring with him.
Asked whether he’d rather fight Masvidal or Diaz, Paul’s manager, former UFC executive Nakisa Bidarian, interrupted to note the obvious issue: the MMA fighters’ legal obligation to their promoter.
“There’s no choice there,” Bidarian said. “They’re both under contract with the UFC. There’s no discussion on that.”
For Paul, it’s a little bit simpler. UFC fighters have been his favorite targets as he’s transformed himself from social media star to professional boxer, and he’s taken any chance to drum up more publicity by engaging them or their boss.
“I’ll fight all of them,” Paul said. “I don’t care.”
But after stopping cold a legitimate UFC champion, a fighter many have said is one of the best octagon welterweights of all-time, Paul believes more than ever that he’s a legitimate threat to any UFC standout if they step into the ring.
“He’s a five-time UFC champ, and I flatlined him,” Paul said of Woodley. “Ben Askren, not really a striker, Nate Robinson, basketball player. But the fact that I proved I have one-punch power on a legend of this sport, people are going to be scared. That’s why Masvidal and Diaz got up out of their seats and left, because they didn’t want me to jump out of the ring and start going at them. People should be scared. Everyone’s on high alert.
“Everyone’s a target. No one’s safe. Hide your kids, hide your wife. I’m like Santa Claus, I’m coming down your chimney – I’ll f*ck everybody up. I’ll f*ck your whole family up.”