Despite his breakout boxing success, Jake Paul used Conor McGregor to measure his box office clout after improving his pro record to 4-0. As the “money fight,” he said UFC stars like McGregor and Nate Diaz now need to come to him.
Diaz was the only one tweeting directly at Paul, writing “both these guys suck” as Paul and Tyron Woodley lumbered toward a split decision on Sunday in Cleveland. But a tweet from McGregor that was mistakenly described as a dig at Paul was an easy jumping off point for the YouTuber turned boxer.
Paul has chased a fight with McGregor almost since he got into professional boxing. But with the former two-division champ on a career skid and on the mend from a broken leg, his approach continues to shift.
“Conor McGregor has a lot more to focus on than me right now,” said Paul, reacting to a message from McGregor that said “I’m salivating” – and soon after appeared to be a reference to a pricey lobster dinner. “I’m five wins in a row. He’s 1-3 in the past four years. The guy needs to get off his little vodka or whatever his brand is and sober up and start to get back in the gym, and then we can f*cking fight.
“But to be honest, no way he hits harder than Woodley. He doesn’t weigh as much as Woodley. He’s shorter than Woodley. I said it before the fight – I think Woodley’s a harder fight than him, especially on the way where he’s going. Conor’s going down, I’m going up. Woodley came in game. We’ll see.”
Paul then turned his attention to Diaz’s tweet, which he mocked by adopting the voice of a person with a speech impediment.
“Another loser, talking up,” Paul said. “Of course, he wants a payday. I’m one of the money fighters now in boxing. The guy’s got a chin, but he doesn’t land punches, right? So that fight’s there, no problem. Thank you for the attention. Thank you for watching me. I appreciate it, fanboy.”
Paul hasn’t counted the receipts for his first fight with Woodley, but he cited McGregor’s Irish homecoming seven years ago as proof of his drawing power in his native Cleveland.
“The live gate was bigger than Conor McGregor’s headlining event of the UFC in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland,” he said. “So I sold more tickets than Conor McGregor did with the whole backing of the UFC in my fourth fight ever. We did more revenue.”
Official live gate numbers for Sunday’s event weren’t immediately released, but that would mean a take in excess of $1.4 million, the disclosed revenue for UFC Fight Night 46 in 2014.
McGregor dismissed Paul in early interviews, but recently entertained the possibility of a fight sometime in the future. Diaz, known to hang back until a lucrative opportunity appeared, now has Paul on his radar.
Whether that interest goes both ways is the million-dollar question. Paul might give Woodley the rematch if he honors a bet to get “I love Jake Paul” tattooed on his body. Then again, he just might move onto another UFC star, or, for the first time, fight a veteran boxer.
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