Jake Paul returned to winning ways in Dallas on Saturday night as he claimed a unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz met in a 10-round cruiserweight contest.
This was Paul’s eighth fight and his first since a split decision loss to Tommy Fury earlier this year.
Diaz was making his debut in boxing after a 15-year career in the UFC.
Paul started the contest strongly but Diaz came into the fight in the third and fourth rounds, wobbling the YouTube star in the third and landing some clean jabs in the following round. However, it appeared as if Paul could claim a fifth career stoppage victory in the fifth round as he sent the 38-year-old to the canvas with a left hook but Diaz managed to recover fairly quickly.
Diaz, who showboated at times, enjoyed some success with a flurry of punches in the seventh but ‘The Problem Child’ finished strongly and could potentially have claimed a late stoppage as Diaz began to look unsteady in the later rounds. Ultimately, Paul had to settle for a convincing points victory as the judges scored the fight 97-92, 98-91, 98-91 in his favour.
There probably won’t be a rematch in a boxing ring, but that doesn’t mean these two fighters won’t face off again.
Saturday’s showdown in Dallas may prove to be both the beginning and end of Diaz’s boxing career but it seems likely that Paul and the former UFC man will meet under MMA rules.
Diaz reverted to his MMA ways during the bout and at one point in the ninth round appeared to attempt a choke hold during a clinch with Paul.
Addressing the moment in his post-fight interview in quotes reported by The Mirror, Diaz said: "I wasn't trying to but I had the single leg [takedown] in the first round and the choke in the ninth, so I won that battle."
Paul revealed after the fight that he had made a $10million offer to Diaz to fight in MMA under the PFL (Professional Fighters League) banner.
“All credit to my team and I want to run it back in MMA," saud Paul. "$10million PFL, that’s the offer. Let’s run it back in MMA to make it fair. I won one, now it's your chance in home territory of MMA. He’s real tough, that’s what he’s known for but tough in this sport doesn’t work. I knocked him and won basically every round, I had him hurt in the first round and he kept on coming.”
Paul agreed a multi-year deal with the PFL earlier this year before he faced Fury and has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu but he is yet to make his MMA debut, and a bout with Diaz may well be his debut in the discipline.
Paul was clearly disappointed by his defeat to Fury back in January and has voiced a desire to take on the Briton for a second time.
The 26-year-old American did come out of that contest with some credit despite the defeat as it was his first, and so far only, bout against a genuine boxer but he may have to bide his time before facing Fury again.
The 24-year-old is due to face another social media star in October as he will come up against YouTuber KSI in Manchester in October.
KSI beat Paul’s brother Logan in January 2019 in his only professional fight to date and his meeting with Fury is officially regarded as an exhibition match.
Jake Paul’s chances of facing a quick rematch with Fury will depend on whether he manages to beat KSI, although he may opt simply to try and engineer a clash with the winner of that fight rather than target Fury alone.
It seems unlikely that Diaz will seek to continue in boxing after losing out to Paul and in truth he looked uncomfortable throughout.
A rematch with Paul under the PFL looks the only realistic option for Diaz in terms of his fighting career, although he may line up other MMA contests in the meantime if Paul instead targets the winner of the Fury vs KSI bout as a priority.