Jake Paul has experience in boxing and wrestling, but shoring up the other parts of his combat sports game will push back his MMA debut until the end of his year at the earliest.
Paul detailed his plans to fight in the cage during Friday’s PFL 2 broadcast, three months after he signed on to the tournament-based promotion as a partner and future fighter.
Asked by PFL broadcaster Sean O’Connell about his MMA debut, Paul said “it’s looking like end of 2023, you know, maybe beginning of 2024.”
“But I’m really excited, even just watching the fights tonight has got me hyped up,” added Paul, who joined the broadcast via video feed. “I’ve been training jiu-jitsu a little bit and getting back to my wrestling roots; I grew up wrestling in Ohio, Division I, I have that background. So I really just have to focus on learning the kicks.
“So I need about a year or so, and then I’m gonna be ready, and I’m excited to be doing it with the PFL. And hopefully, we can lock down a big name, because I want to challenge myself. People think I’m crazy, which I am, but I like doing things differently. And since the beginning of this whole like influencer boxing thing, I’ve always said that I wanted to do MMA. So for me, I’m excited to do it, and to be doing it at the PFL.”
News of Paul’s move to MMA came as he prepared for his seventh pro boxing match, a meeting with rival Tommy Fury that had twice been postponed. Paul lost to Fury via split decision after getting outworked by Fury over eight rounds.
Paul reportedly retained the right to immediately rematch Fury and after his loss anticipated another go-around with the half-brother of heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury. But he told O’Connell that he was entertaining several options for his return to the ring.
“I’m revisiting the drawing board, going back to the basics, changing some things around with my team, and we’re assessing who it is that I’m gonna fight next,” Paul said. “There’s some really big names out there. We’re talking to multiple different teams, trying to make another massive fight. So stay tuned and hopefully you’ll hear an announcement from me soon.”
Paul is the latest high-profile acquisition of the PFL and the first fighter to take an equity stake in the promotion. At Friday’s event, Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, picked up his third amateur win with a first-round rout to open the main card. In 2020, women’s boxing champ Claressa Shields signed with the promotion and split a pair of non-tournament bouts before moving back to the squared circle.
After signing with the PFL, Paul challenged UFC star and current free agent Nate Diaz to a fight. But the younger Diaz brother appeared to lose interest with his loss to Fury.
Check out Paul’s full interview below.
.@jakepaul plotting out his next move #PFLRegularSeason LIVE NOW— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 8, 2023
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