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Kenny Florian believes Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz could happen in PFL, ‘maybe as early as 2024’

UFC 285: Shevchenko v Grasso Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

PFL color commentator Kenny Florian believes that Jake Paul and Nate Diaz could find themselves in a crossover doubleheader by next year.

Paul and Diaz will meet in a boxing match this Saturday in Dallas, which serves as Diaz’s first bout since fighting out his UFC contract this past September. While we have seen MMA fighters head over to boxing, along with boxers suggesting they would return the favor, yet it hasn’t happened yet, Florian was asked if the Paul-Diaz pairing could change that narrative and compete in a PFL fight — something both Paul, and PFL chairman Donn Davis have both asked for.

“I think so, and I think that’s what makes it so intriguing,” Florian said on Heck of a Morning ahead of Friday’s PFL Playoffs event. It’s like [for MMA fighters] you have a one shot at boxing and that’s what I do. That’s what I’ve been focusing on, now coming over to my support, mixed martial arts, we haven’t had that. Now, we can actually have that. I do think it’s feasible.

“I do think it’s possible that we could see it maybe as early as 2024. If you’re gonna do a pay-per-view, you want stars, you want big names and Nate Diaz definitely fits the bill, as does Jake Paul.”

Davis stated on social media in July that there is a $10 million offer on the table for Diaz to face Paul in the PFL SmartCage.

Before Diaz can turn his attention to possibly resuming his MMA career, he will face Paul in a 10-round professional boxing bout. A win for Diaz would be absolutely massive when he goes to the negotiation table with his value sky high. Florian is fascinated by the intangibles surrounding the fight, and actually sees the longtime UFC star as the favorite heading in.

“I think it’s fascinating for a couple of different reasons,” Florian said. “First of all, I think that one of the strongest parts of Nate Diaz’s game has been his boxing, right? I think he’s wanted to box for so long. Jake deserves a lot of credit for doing what he’s been doing. He could be a millionaire doing his YouTube thing, but no, he decided to earn it in a very difficult manner, which is the professional fight game and he’s done very well for himself. He’s surprised me, anyway.

“[Jake’s a] big strong kid, he’s tough, he’s training right, he’s got a good team around him, and he’s been calling out the right fighters, for the most part so far. He’s calling out a big name and Nate Diaz is gonna bring in a lot of viewers. I also think it’s interesting that it’s a 10 round fight, not a six-round fight. I think that’s an advantage to Nate Diaz, certainly. I also think a mixed martial arts camp, at this stage of the game, can definitely have a lot of wear and tear on your body. Nate Diaz has been around the game for a long time, I think this is probably a welcome change of just having to really deal with boxing for a camp.

“So I think Nate Diaz has some advantages heading into this fight and I would certainly have him as a favorite against Jake Paul, but Jake Paul earlier on, [in the] first three rounds, he’s gonna be extremely dangerous. He’s got knockout power. Nate’s got to watch out for those big shots, but late in the game, I think that’s where Nate Diaz can get that legendary motor going. He’s also of course known for that durability, for that chin and his high volume boxing, and he just gets stronger and stronger as the fight goes on. I would have Nate Diaz as a favorite, but Jake Paul is gonna be tough to take out as well.”

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