But that doesn’t mean Diaz thinks Paul is a real fighter.
“I’m not trying to f****** talk s***,” Diaz said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “He’s boxing high-level MMA guys and he’s sparring hard and working with good people, and then he starts talking s*** to me throughout the camp. It comes with the territory and all is fair, love and war, I’m always about that. Say whatever you want, that’s fine. But then when you start making things personal, trying to make things personal, saying s*** he shouldn’t be saying, it hurts people’s feelings when I say this ain’t a real fight.
“Because if it’s a real fight, remember Logan Paul [lookalike Rodney Petersen] in New Orleans? No problem. This is not a real fight to be talking to me like that. This is a boxing competition. So that’s what I meant by he can’t really fight. It’s not overly disrespectful. If you can’t really fight, don’t be talking s***.”
Diaz, 38, was competitive in his long-awaited professional boxing debut, but still lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Paul on the scorecards, 98-91, 98-91, and 97-92. Paul out-landed the Stockton native 174 to 143 on the official punch count and even scored a knockdown in the fifth round, however Diaz persevered in classic Diaz form, walking Paul down throughout the later rounds and repeatedly taunting his 26-year-old foe.
Diaz even briefly hit Paul with a standing guillotine choke in the closing seconds of the final round — a sequence which ultimately hearkened back to Diaz’s point.
“Done deal. That was already [over], that fight,” Diaz said. “In a real fight, this fight’s over and we’re sitting up here with a win. But we were participating in a boxing match and it was a good time, and now I know [what that’s like], because I was curious too.
“[Before the fight] I was like, I’m going to get into a boxing [match] and I know what I think [it’s going to be like], and I was training my whole career, boxing with pro boxers on the highest level, as high as I could get, and [I’d always] done really well. And I’ve never fought in a pro fight, so I was like, ‘I think I’ll whoop all these motherf***ers’ ass.’ But that’s just what I think. Let’s go in there and get a feel for it, and it felt just like what I’d imagined.”
After the fight, both Diaz and Paul revisited the $10 million challenge Paul proposed for an MMA rematch. Paul has yet to make an official transition to MMA, but is exclusively signed with the PFL for any potential MMA debut.
Diaz said he isn’t sure about his own next step, however he’s amenable to the idea of an MMA rematch if the PFL is willing to co-promote with Real Fight Inc. He said he expects to be ready to compete again in “two, three, four months” because of the lack of facial damage he suffered at Paul’s hands, and remains open to trying boxing again.
Either way, Diaz isn’t done with Paul.
“Right now we’re going to go home and we’re going to talk about it, and we’re going to figure out whether we want to do MMA or boxing, and then we’ll see what they want to do,” Diaz said. “They said they wanted to do the PFL thing, and I think that if we want to do that, we’re going to have to co-promote and do Real Fight vs. PFL, and I’m with that. But my goal is to get a rematch in any art.”
“We’re going to see what happens with him, see if he really wants to do that,” Diaz added. “If not, I’ll be back in this hunting him down too. Either way is fine with me.”