YouTube star Paul had never fought when he first expressed interest in facing UFC legend McGregor, and has been pushing for the fight ever since as he climbs the boxing ranks
Jake Paul has been angling for a fight with Conor McGregor since long before he started his boxing career, first making his interest known ahead of his white-collar debut.
The YouTube star was heading to Manchester to prepare for his first ever boxing match with British social media sensation Deji when TMZ stopped he and his brother Logan for an impromptu interview in August 2018. The pair were keen to use their newfound boxing skills in a future MMA fight, and asked who they would like to face, a number of names were brought up.
CM Punk was mentioned as a potential debut opponent in the UFC for Logan, while Jake set his sights on McGregor. At the time the Irishman was preparing to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in what would become the biggest pay-per-view event in MMA history, but he slumped to three losses and just one win in the four years since that interview took place.
“I want to fight a UFC fighter,” Logan said at the time. “I want to get in the octagon because I wrestled my whole life. For real, for real, there’s no reason why I can’t, I literally did athletics my whole life.
“Hey Dana White, if you’re watching this, bro, pick a fighter for me dude. Late next year I’ll be up around 190lb – maybe CM Punk, he got kicked out or something.”
Jake declared that his brother was “more of an MMA fighter,” during the joint video, which appears to track with their respective progress in the sport. The elder Paul has been unable to win any of his three bouts; two against KSI and once an exhibition with Floyd Mayweather, while Jake has moved to 5-0 as a professional with four knockouts after beating Deji.
“I think it would be dope to see one of us fight McGregor,” Jake added, seemingly understanding the gravity of the statement coming from a no-bout beginner. “If the Floyd thing happened, it’s a little bit different of a level but if we had a year to train you never know.”
Since the interview was shot, Jake has all but quit social media in an effort to become a legitimate professional boxer. He turned professional after stopping Deji within five rounds, and quickly put away another YouTuber in AnEsonGib after less than a round.
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From there, he moved on to basketball star Nate Robinson, whom he viciously put down before re-igniting his calls for a fight with McGregor. Since that win, he has been vocally and aggressively pushing for a bout with the Irishman, who generally ignores his calls.
But in recent months after Jake knocked out both Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, who in their primes were both touted as possible McGregor opponents in the UFC, he has taken small nibbles. Asked by Mirror Fighting in February if Paul would be a possible opponent, the Irishman replied “never say never”.
And months later when the YouTuber mocked his form in a training video, the Irishman directly responded on Twitter. He shared a video showing his head movement, and declaring that Paul was a “jacka**”.
The Paul brothers are both known for lofty proclamations, but after watching Logan face off with Mayweather last summer, it has been difficult for critics to be too cynical about their ambitions of late. Jake will return to the ring against an as-yet-unnamed opponent on August 13, and could eventually take on McGregor if the deal makes financial sense.