Jake Paul may be making waves in the sport of boxing, but he’s spent a lot of time engaging in trash talk with the top fighters from the sport of MMA.
On Saturday night, the 24-year-old Ohio native will compete in his third professional fight, but he will be facing a professional fighter for the first time when he clashes with former Bellator and ONE champion Ben Askren. Paul had exchanged fiery messages with Askren over social media for months leading up to the announcement of their fight, which headlines the Triller Fight Club card on pay-per-view.
In addition to his feud with Askren, Paul has also spent a lot of time calling out former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor not to mention jabbing at UFC President Dana White, who promised to bet $1 million against him this weekend.
“I’m just having fun and trolling,” Paul told MMA Fighting on Thursday. “I’ve sort of purposefully pitting the MMA community against me so they tune into this fight. It worked.”
Despite agitating MMA fighters for fun, Paul said he really doesn’t have anything to prove while going up against Askren, though he seems to be pleased that he might cost White a hefty sum of money for betting against him.
“I’m excited for Dana White to lose a million dollars,” Paul said. “But other than that, I’m going to prove millions and millions and millions of people wrong and they have motivated me to become the best version of myself over the last couple of years.”
If all goes well in his fight against Askren this weekend, Paul has already teased his intention to chase down McGregor for a bout that he believes could break pay-per-view records. He said a McGregor fight could actually come together sooner rather than later.
“I think we both are on a road to each other,” Paul said about facing McGregor. “He wants another boxing fight. He wants to fight Manny Pacquiao. He would get toasted. He just keeps on taking Ls. So I think him fighting me would not only be his money fight, but it would technically be the easiest challenge, right? Fighting Jake Paul would probably be easier than fighting Manny Pacquiao and it would be just as big.
“I think we’re a lot closer to a Jake Paul-Conor McGregor fight than anyone thinks. I think it could happen in the next 24 months.”
Right now, McGregor is solely focused on a trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July after he fell to the former interim champion by second-round knockout earlier this year.
McGregor has said he will eventually return to the sport of boxing after suffering a loss to Floyd Mayweather in his only professional bout. He’s never mentioned any interest in facing someone like Paul. That hasn’t deterred the outspoken social media influencer from pushing for the fight, especially knowing the kind of audience he expects to tune in for an event of that magnitude.
“Conor’s the big name,” Paul said. “He’s a A-list celebrity, and there are very few fighters who are A-list celebrities. So we’ll see what happens. I hope he wins against Dustin, I guess, so that the fight becomes more exciting.”