Jake Paul is nothing if not confident, though some might call him delusional.
Ahead of his rematch with Tyron Woodley on Saturday night in Tampa, Fla., the often outspoken social influencer turned combat sports disruptor once again addressed the possibility that he would cross over from boxing to MMA.
While the subject has come up more often with his brother Logan Paul, a third-place finisher in wrestling while in high school in Ohio, the now 24-year-old undefeated boxing prospect definitely sees a future for himself in MMA.
In fact, Paul believes that with the same kind of dedication he used to learn the sweet science, he could put that work toward MMA to immediately challenge someone like Woodley, who just so happens to be a former UFC champion.
“Yeah for sure, 100 percent [I would do MMA],” Paul said during the pre-fight press conference on Wednesday. “I think it could happen. Why not?
“If I can learn how to box in two years and beat people like him then why can’t I learn how to do MMA in two years and beat people like him? That’s my answer. It will happen at some point. 100 percent.”
Woodley could only laugh at Paul’s response while inviting his upcoming opponent to please try his hand at MMA where he’s regarded as one of the best welterweights in the history of the sport.
“You lie,” Woodley said. “Let’s do MMA then. Let’s do MMA after we do this boxing stuff so I can elbow you in the head and knee you in the nugget. He cap.”
As far as the boxing rematch set for Saturday, Paul was almost dismissive of Woodley, who accepted the short-notice opportunity following the withdrawal of Tommy Fury from the card due to injury.
Paul, who was wearing a full ski mask on stage, said that this will be another win to add to his undefeated record while taking home a massive payday to boot.
“I just thought it’s funny how these professionals like Tommy Fury, who’s considered a professional boxer, gets sick, breaks a rib and doesn’t want to fight,” Paul said of Fury. I fought sick. I fought hurt. You’ve got to go in there and get the job done.
“Then they’re like, ‘Oh you’ve got Tyron Woodley now.’ No problem. That’s why I’ve got the ski mask on. They’re going to give me a big bag to go and beat the guy I already beat? This is a bank robbery.”
While Paul earned a split decision victory in their first meeting back in September, he absorbed arguably the biggest punch in the fight after Woodley cracked him with a vicious left hand in the fourth round.
Paul survived before ultimately coming back to earn the victory. But this time around, he’s offering Woodley an extra $500,000 bonus for a knockout in order to dispel rumors that he put a clause in the previous contract that prevented his opponents from actually finishing him in the fight.
“I guess my career’s just become shutting people the f*ck up and this is just another version of that,” Paul said. “Up the ante, prove that there’s no knockout clause. The fact that people think that, they’re idiots and I’m willing to put money on it. That’s it.”
As far as building toward a knockout of his own, Paul promised that he didn’t have his best night against Woodley when they clashed a few months ago but he expects a much different result this time around.
Through his first three professional fights, Paul has demolished his competition with a trio of knockouts, including a devastating finish over Woodley’s friend and longtime teammate, Ben Askren.
Paul hopes to not only add Woodley’s name to his win column again this weekend, but he’s also gunning for a finish to put an exclamation point on his performance this time around.
“I hurt him multiple times in that fight, but for some reason, people don’t want to talk about that,” Paul said about his own power punches. “Seventh round, overhand right. Picture that’s on my Instagram with your head and you fell forward into my arms, and I saved your life. But not this time.
“I didn’t hit you with my best shot. It was a bad night and I still beat you. You should be embarrassed by that cause I beat you on a bad night. My first time going 8 rounds. First time ever getting hit by a 10-ounce glove. You don’t know what’s coming.”