Jake Paul makes confusing claims about Khabib, targets MMA revolution
Ahead of his second boxing bout against former champ Tyron Woodley, rookie pro Jake Paul has claimed he will shake up MMA – and he says UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team will be involved.
With a 4-0 early career record, the YouTube prankster was set to take on Tommy Fury until the stepbrother of WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson pulled out of their bout, which had been scheduled for Saturday, with a broken rib and chest infection.
Luckily for Paul and those who had bought tickets to the event at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Woodley was available to step in to save the card and will try to avenge a controversial points defeat to Paul in late August.
Not done with trying to prove himself in the squared circle, however, the 24-year-old has spoken of switching to the octagon and challenging the man many call the greatest mixed martial artist of all time in 29-0 ex-UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"I want Khabib; I want to have an MMA match against Khabib. It seems crazy but I think it would be fun," the Ohio native told TNS this week.
"I'm a superstar: a young fighter with the potential to earn 200, 300, 400 million dollars in this sport if I just win, keep winning and remain undefeated."
To make that bout happen, Paul would have to coax the Russian out of retirement. Honoring a promise made to his mother to stop fighting after his father Abdulmanap died from Covid complications last year, Nurmagomedov has resisted big-money offers to take on the likes of unbeaten boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, who Jake's brother, Logan, faced this summer in a farcial exhibition bout.
In a contradiction of his apparent willingness to fight Nurmagomedov, Paul also claimed he plans on using the champion-turned-promoter and his coach, Javier Mendez, should he enter the octagon.
"I don’t see why, if I can do boxing at this high of a level, I couldn’t do MMA at this high of a level," Paul suggested.
"I’m going to go get coached by Mendez, Team Khabib. That’s that. They’re down, 100 percent. I’ve got to go 10-0, 12-0 in boxing first and then I’ll hit that MMA fight."
Woodley, a former UFC welterweight champion once talked up as the division's all-time great until being dethroned by current ruler Kamaru Usman and embarking on a four defeat run that saw him discarded by president Dana White, has called Paul a "f*cking liar".
"Let’s do it, then. You want to make a bet? Let’s make a bet. You want to fight MMA, come and fight me," he said to Paul. "I came to box him. I went up a weight class-and-a-half. Come to MMA; we’ll fight at middleweight and you’ll really see what it is."
One of Paul's arch-nemeses in the world of combat sports is White, who he has constantly needled over accusations poor fighter pay and trolled on Halloween by dressing as the head honcho accompanied by a "hooker".
Paul said he is thinking of following Nurmagomedov, who runs Eagle FC and has just signed ex-UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee while announcing plans to expand to the US and rival White, into promoting.
"We're talking to some MMA fighters," said Paul. "The sport needs it. I've advocated for fighter pay in MMA.
"They're more underpaid than boxers. It's definitely something I want to get into.
"I don't have the exact game plan as of yet but it's pretty simple. This isn't a hard industry to excel in.
"I come from a tech background, Silicon Valley, investors, venture capital. This is what I do when I'm not boxing.
"That sh*t is complicated... that's what I'm versed in. This fight sh*t is the most simple, straightforward business in the world."
Paul is adamant that 39-year-old Woodley will receive a $500,000 bonus if the veteran secures a knockout.
"Up the ante, prove there's no knockout clause," Paul menaced. "It's funny how these professionals like Tommy Fury, who is considered a professional boxer, get sick, break a rib and don't want to fight.
"I've fought sick, I've fought hurt. You've got to go in there and get the job done.
"And then they're like, 'You've got Tyron Woodley now'. No problem. That's why I've got the ski mask [on show at the press conference] on.
"They're going to give me a big bag to go and beat the guy I've already beat. This is a bank robbery."
Showing off his generous side, however, Paul has gifted Woodley and his team a $12,000 rolex each – describing the watches as a "gift of respect because it's time for me to knock him out".