TAMPA, Fla. — Jake Paul has already acted as a disruptor in boxing, becoming one of the most talked-about fighters in that sport this year out of nowhere. Now, he’s saying he could one day make the move to the cage.
The YouTuber-turned-prizefighter said Thursday that there is a “100 percent” chance he will one day compete in MMA. Paul added that he has already discussed going to train in the sport at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California, under coach Javier Mendez and all-time great UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I don’t see why if I can do boxing at this high of a level that I couldn’t do MMA at this high of a level,” Paul said following a press conference to promote his boxing rematch with Tyron Woodley.
“I’m gonna go get coached up by Jav Mendez, Team Khabib. That’s that. They’re down — 100 percent.”
Mendez confirmed Paul’s words in a message to ESPN on Thursday. The legendary MMA coach, who has guided the careers of the likes of UFC luminaries Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez and Nurmagomedov, said he has exchanged pleasantries with Paul over direct message, and one of Paul’s coaches, Jacob Chavez, is a coach at AKA and one of Mendez’s best friends.
Paul was a high school wrestler in Ohio, a top wrestling state. Currently, he’s 4-0 as a pro boxer, and he said he would need more boxing matches under his belt before he turns to MMA.
“I’ve gotta go 10-0, 12-0 in boxing first and then I’ll hit that MMA fight,” Paul said. On Saturday, Paul will face Woodley in a boxing rematch here at Amalie Arena. Woodley is the former UFC welterweight champion. He does not believe that Paul will actually fight in MMA. But if he does, Woodley wants a crack at him. Paul beat Woodley in their first fight Aug. 29 via split decision. Woodley is coming in on two weeks notice following the withdrawal of Tommy Fury, the half-brother of boxing heavyweight champ Tyson.
“He’s f—ing a liar,” Woodley said. “Let’s do it, then. You want to make a bet? Let’s make a bet. You want to fight MMA, come and fight me. I came to box him. I went up a weight class and a half. Come to MMA, we’ll fight at middleweight and you’ll really see what it is.”