Paul was able to get the unanimous decision win over Diaz this past Saturday in a boxing match at the sold out American Airlines Center in Dallas. Following the victory, Paul called to run it back in an MMA bout — a sentiment that many MMA fans deem laughable at this point. Speaking to Ariel Helwani, Hardy sees an MMA fight being closer than most think.
“I know I’m going to get some, some heat for this, but I think it could be competitive,” Hardy said on The MMA Hour. “I think what we’ve seen from Jake Paul in the boxing match is that he’s willing to stand and trade with Nate. At times, he’s willing to be in the pocket, he’s got good boxing from the outside as Nate is moving into range and Nate’s boxing never looked any better in, in in mixed martial arts than it did on the night.
“You’ve got to think that in a striking sense, there’s going to be some kind of level of competitiveness because Nate was never really a kicker, either, and the other thing. as well, Jake Paul surrounded himself with people that can coach him in the right ways. He would invest money in himself as he will in Amanda Serrano to make the crossover and make it right. He can afford whatever he wants, so he’s going to make sure that he’s well prepared.”
Paul is expected to compete for the PFL when he does make the transition to MMA, but there’s no guarantee Diaz would sign with the promotion in order to make it happen. Throughout the fight week, Diaz discussed a possible return to the UFC, or competing under his promotional banner of Real Fight Inc.
If somehow the PFL and Real Fight Inc. can come to terms on a co-promotion, or if Paul wants to do it under a different banner, Hardy will be intrigued to watch, and would pick Diaz to get a finish — but it wouldn’t be a one-sided slaughter.
“Most likely, Nate would submit him, of course,” Hardy said. “But I can’t count Jake out in being competitive in that fight, especially because, Nate’s nearly 40. We do slow down and he’s got a lot of wear and tear on him. He’s not the same Nate that he used to be, of course.”