Jake Paul teases ‘massive’ Khabib fight (VIDEO)
Khabib Nurmagomedov may have sidestepped into fight promoter and coaching now that he has moved away from professional competition, but that hasn't stopped former Disney star-turned-professional prizefighter Jake Paul from calling for a money-spinning showdown with the Russian star.
Controversial YouTuber Paul has become a legitimate combat sports commodity since he moved into the fight game. However, the YouTuber has drawn criticism for not yet fighting a traditional boxer throughout the early stages of his blossoming boxing career – having beaten a pair of MMA fighters more known for their grappling prowess than their striking acumen in his most recent fights.
But if he wants to really move outside of his comfort zone, Paul says that he has identified the best route to do so: an MMA fight against one of the sport's greatest competitors.
"I would fight Khabib in MMA if they wanted to make that offer," Paul told Ariel Helwani on an episode of The MMA Hour.
"That would be exciting. Like, that would excite me – and especially if I had more time to train."
Khabib has so far resisted the urge to step back into active competition after first announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts shortly after defending the UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje in October 2020.
UFC boss Dana White had attempted to persuade the Russian to return to the cage for at least one more fight in pursuit of a dominant 30-0 record in MMA – but Khabib stood firm to a retirement vow he made to his mother shortly after the death of his father and trainer, Abdulmanap, who passed away in the summer of 2020 after experiencing complications from a Covid-19 infection.
But if a deal could be struck, Paul predicted it would be beneficial for both parties.
"That would be a massive fight," he said.
"Probably a million, two million pay-per-view buys, and all I would have to do is work on my wrestling skills because I would out-strike him standing up."
Khabib is known to have an interest in Jake Paul, and revealed to the media in Miami last weekend that he had extended a formal offer to Paul to join up with his Eagle FC fight league if he was serious about taking on an MMA fight.
Whether or not a deal with Khabib could be arranged, however, remains unlikely given that Dana White and the UFC have almost certainly retained promotional rights over any future fights involving Nurmagomedov – meaning that a Khabib vs. Jake Paul bout couldn't go ahead without being rubber-stamped by UFC boss Dana White.
Paul and White have been embroiled in a brewing feud regarding UFC fighter pay in recent months.
Whether or not Jake Paul eventually fights in mixed martial arts remains to be seen but Khabib has appeared to open an avenue for him to enter the sport.
But if Paul has his heart set on fighting the legendary Dagestan native, there are more than a few contractual hurdles which must first be cleared.