Jake Paul is nothing if not ambitious.
With just days remaining until his showdown with former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on pay-per-view, the 24-year-old social influencer turned boxing superstar recently revealed a “hit list” of potential opponents he hopes to face in the future.
After already crossing off fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, ex-NBA player Nate Robinson and former UFC contender Ben Askren, Paul is focused on Woodley next but he has several more fights he’d like to pursue including several more mixed martial arts stars.
Paul listed Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as one dream opponent but he’s previously stated that he likely won’t pursue that matchup for a few years until he’s got more experience under his belt.
Next up were the Diaz brothers and Paul explained his desire to fight either Nick or Nate if the opportunity was presented to him.
“I’ve had beef with Nate back and forth over social media,” Paul explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I’ve beat up one of Nate’s boys in sparring and he just thinks he’s this super tough guy and he is right? But not in this world. Not when you come into the squared circle. It’s a whole different sport, buddy.
“So, he can get the smoke or his brother or both in one night. I see the guys that they’re fighting, their striking ability and it’s whatever. I have to settle that beef. That’s where this comes from.”
Paul also listed reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as a fighter he’d like to go after in the ring after they exchanged words over Twitter in recent months.
While his focus remains on the UFC and his upcoming title defense against Colby Covington in November, Usman recently showed confidence in his boxing skills when a fan asked him about potentially clashing with “Canelo” and he said “I think I can do anything that I put my mind to.”
Before he gets to “Canelo,” Paul says he would love to test out Usman’s chin in a boxing match to settle the beef they started online.
“Same thing with “Camaro” Usman — is he named after the Chevy car?” Paul said. “But Usman, he and I have beef, too, going back and forth on social media. I forget even how it started, I have beef with way too many people. He said something about Disney and I said ‘yo, you went to Disney’ and I showed a picture of him like smiling like an idiot next to Mickey Mouse.
“All of these guys can get the smoke and I’m really bout it. When I say anyone, any time, any place, I mean it. Let’s get it done. If it’s possible, let’s get it done. I’m ready.”
Of course, Paul also name dropped Conor McGregor as a possible opponent and that’s a call out he’s been making since his boxing career first began.
In recent months, the Ohio native has seemingly lost some interest in boxing McGregor after the Irish superstar suffered back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier, which has led to some nasty interactions with many of his fellow fighters due to some fiery posts on social media.
Paul admits that a fight against McGregor doesn’t hold the same luster it once did but he also can’t deny the drawing power a matchup like that would bring to a pay-per-view event.
It’s for that reason alone that Paul hopes he can still convince McGregor to face him in the ring, although he would like to see “The Notorious” get some of his swagger back.
“He’s sort of lost that spunk and I think people are kind of second guessing him,” Paul said about McGregor. “He’s not the same Conor, that’s for sure. It’s not as interesting, however, I would still just like to beat him up. Because I would want him to freak out in the ring and go crazy and lose his sh*t. I think it would be funny to see him break down like how he did against Dustin Poirier. And by the way, it’s still a massive fight.
“Regardless of what anybody wants to say about Conor, you have to respect him for what he’s done, becoming the face of the fight game. I don’t hate the guy. Do I like him? No but you have to respect him. All I’ve said though is I want to fight him and knock him out. Because A) it would be a big fight, big business and B) give the people what they want. That’s one of the most talked about fights to happen in the past year. I think it still makes sense regardless if he’s winning or losing, people want to see that.”
Of course, Paul acknowledges that calling out any active UFC athlete is a fight he’s less likely to receive because the promotion very rarely allows anybody to compete in a different combat sport or separate organization.
One name on the list who could actually end up as his next opponent, however, is 22-year-old British fighter Tommy Fury, who is actually competing on the undercard of Paul’s upcoming bout against Woodley.
As the younger brother to heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury, Tommy has a perfect 6-0 record in his own career while also making a name for himself after appearing on the popular reality series Love Island.
That said, Paul isn’t sure that Fury actually brings the kind of name value or star power to a fight that would draw in a lot of viewers, especially when compared to his recent opponents like Askren or Woodley.
“That’s sort of the thing I’ve made fun of ‘Timmy’ for is like the only reason people know of you is because of your famous older brother,” Paul said. “I didn’t even know you existed. You have no audience here in the U.S. We’re sort of still trying to gauge like do people even care about that fight? Is it a big fight? Can he actually fight? Because he’s fought some guys with losing records. Is he really as good as they claim him to be? So we’re still out a lot of things.
“That’s why after I knock out Tyron, it’s back to the drawing board with the team to figure out who is the best next fight. Again, I have to have an opponent that can draw pay-per-view numbers. I can’t take a step back because all eyes are on me. No one would want to watch me fight some unknown pro boxer or pro MMA fighter. I need to sell pay-per-views and people want big star power names.”
At the bottom of his list, Paul had one more name at No. 10 and that was none other than his older brother Logan Paul with a question mark next to it.
Logan has made his own waves in boxing with a couple of high profile fights but none bigger than his exhibition bout against Floyd Mayweather that pulled in massive numbers on pay-per-view earlier this year.
For his part, Paul put his brother’s name to troll the journalists who are constantly asking him that question about eventually fighting Logan but he says the chances of it actually happening are probably quite slim.
“I sort of put it there as a joke,” Paul said. “I put Logan Paul? Just trolling a bit. People always ask us that. Sometimes we lean into it like maybe we’ll do it, then other days like today, I’m just like we probably won’t ever fight.
“Our parents don’t want us to do it. It is something funny to sort of troll and who knows what will happen. It’s 2021, anything is possible.”
The “hit list” will certainly come with criticism about Paul’s legitimacy in boxing as he continues to grow in popularity while quickly becoming one of the biggest box office draws yet not facing a single opponent with past experience in the sport.
Paul understands those arguments but he’s quick to counter by pointing out his record through three fights with a fourth scheduled isn’t that much different than many of the greatest champions currently competing in the ring.
Add to that, Paul never forgets his value when it comes to drawing power and pay-per-view sales and he’d be a terrible businessman if he didn’t try to book the biggest fights while also pushing himself against tougher and tougher competition.
“That’s why my career is just different,” Paul said. “It’s such a unique situation. No fighter in the history of the sport has sold this many pay-per-views and had this much attention at 3-0.
“I’m building my career differently all while still challenging myself and trying to become the biggest prizefighter in the world.”