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Daniel Cormier concerned for Nate Diaz in Jake Paul fight: ‘Stay away from the right hand’

UFC 279: Diaz v Ferguson
Nate Diaz
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Daniel Cormier hopes Nate Diaz isn’t overlooking Jake Paul.

Diaz faces Paul in a boxing bout on Aug. 5 in Dallas, a matchup that pits a 15-year UFC veteran against a YouTuber who started boxing in 2018 and has since made a habit of defeating MMA stars. This is the first pro boxing bout of Diaz’s fighting career.

Discussing the matchup on his YouTube channel, Cormier outlined a few dangers that Diaz should consider when he steps into the ring with “The Problem Child.”

“I believe this will be the biggest payday of Nate Diaz’s career and I know Nate has made a lot of money in the UFC,” Cormier said. “With that being said though, I don’t know how much I like it. I don’t know how much I like the fight based on two things: Jake’s big for him. Jake’s going to be big for Diaz. And Jake also is improving as a boxer, but Jake can also hit Nate, and that’s the worry. Nate is a guy that does get hit because Nate’s tough.

“Nate got hit by [Jorge] Masvidal. Nate got hit by Tony Ferguson, and we know who Tony Ferguson is today as opposed to who Tony Ferguson was before. Nate can be hit, and this guy’s going to be bigger than Nate. This guy’s going to be fighting in a rule set that benefits him. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be a very tough fight for Diaz, just because he has to be so aware.

“Now, can Diaz outbox him? Yeah. If he can outwork him. I think Diaz’s ability to outwork people is what’s going to be his biggest advantage in this fight because the one thing we have seen in Paul, we saw it against Tyron the first time, we saw it against Tommy Fury last time, we have seen it on numerous occasions that he can get tired. He can fatigue. Because all this stuff is new to him. Nate doesn’t get tired. So if Nate’s going to have an opportunity to win this fight, Nate’s has got to set a high pace early, and he’s got to keep that pace going the entirety of the fight and he has got to stay away from the right hand.”

Throughout his storied MMA career, Diaz has earned a reputation for entertaining three-round contests featuring plenty of back-and-forth striking exchanges, entertaining scrambles, and frequent taunts. Diaz is also known for his durability, only failing to make it to the final bell three times in 34 fights.

The 37-year-old Californian parted ways with the UFC this past September after fighting out his contract with a win over Tony Ferguson.

Cormier sees Diaz as having many attributes that could benefit him against Paul, but fears that the larger Paul could find a way to punch Diaz out.

“Am I comfortable making a prediction on this fight?” Cormier said. “I don’t know. But if I’m having to guess, seeing them both recently, I feel like the bigger, younger guy is generally who you would go with and the bigger, younger, fresher guy is Paul.

“Paul isn’t or has not been through the wars with Conor McGregor. Paul has not been through the wars of being in UFC championship fights with the best fighters in the world. He’s fresh. His toughest fight was against Tommy Fury. And he’s bigger. That is what I think may ultimately be one of the biggest issues that my boy Nate has to deal with when it comes to that fight. But if anyone can upset the apple cart, it’s Nate Diaz.

“I’m happy Nate gets the opportunity to fight and make a boatload of money and fight against a guy that many don’t consider a real fighter. I do. I think Paul, at this point, has proven he’s a fighter. Let’s see what happens with him and Nate Diaz. But I would be lying if I didn’t say it makes me a tad bit nervous, because I worry if this dude hits Nate, maybe he’s able to put him down. Boxing is so much different than anything you’ve ever done.”

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